This surgery involves removing the cancerous area of the breast plus a surrounding area of noncancerous breast tissue. Every attempt is made to preserve breast shape and size. This approach is appropriate for most small breast cancers and some larger breast cancers. It is accompanied by removal of a portion of the lymph glands under the arm, where breast cancer tends to spread first. After healing is complete, radiation treatments minimize the chance of recurrence.
Radiation treatments are performed using the linear accelerators at the hospital. The linear accelerator delivers radiation in a much more precise and controlled fashion than the older cobalt units. Lumpectomy is one of the most popular current surgical treatment plans for breast cancer. The lumpectomy procedure is usually done with an overnight stay, but can be done as an outpatient. Average recovery time is one week.