Lumpectomy removes cancerous tissue along with a rim of normal tissue surrounding it. The procedure preserves the rest of the breast as well as your sense of touch in the breast. It’s often also referred to as a wide local excision, segmental resection, or partial mastectomy. Memorial Sloan Kettering breast cancer surgeons have been leaders in the development of national guidelines for the use of lumpectomy.

We perform lumpectomy as an outpatient surgical procedure. We often combine it with a biopsy of the sentinel lymph nodes — the ones closest to the tumor — to check if the cancer has spread to them. Whether lumpectomy is right for you depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the size of your tumor
  • the size of your affected breast
  • the number of sites of cancer within the breast
  • whether you’re able to undergo radiation treatments afterward

Many women with newly diagnosed, early-stage breast cancer choose to have a lumpectomy.

Breast Surgery Guidelines Take Aim at Unnecessary Operations
The guidelines address questions around the need to remove additional normal tissue in breast cancer patients who’ve already had a lumpectomy.
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If the tumor is too large for a lumpectomy to be done without also causing significant changes in the appearance of your breast, we can sometimes use chemotherapy to shrink it first. Your MSK surgeons as well as our breast imaging specialists, radiation oncologists, and others will work with you to design the best treatment plan for you.

We usually recommend that women receive radiation therapy to the affected breast after a lumpectomy.