Clinical studies have demonstrated that there is a small difference in the survival rates for women who have invasive breast cancer and choose lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy. Each person will have to consider which treatment is right for their specific situation.
It helps to consider factors that would affect your decision:
effect on survival
your age and overall quality of health
grade and stage of your cancer
importance of keeping your breast
peace of mind about how the cancer was treated
if you are considering lumpectomy, consider the ability to have radiation treatment 5 days per week for several weeks
If you choose to have radiation therapy you will need to be able to get to the treatment center 5 days a week for several weeks. There are some health conditions, such as heart disease, that would not allow you to have radiation therapy. In addition, breast reconstruction is available if you choose a mastectomy. You may also consider one of a variety of external breast prostheses.
Most of all, it helps to talk with other women who have had to make the same decision you are facing. If you would like to talk with a survivor who has had a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy (with or without reconstruction) you can call the 24-hour Y-ME National Breast Cancer Hotlines.
Remember: during and after your treatment for breast cancer, taking an active role in your treatment may be able to hasten your recovery and improve your quality of life.
take time to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each of the treatment options
ask questions of your healthcare provider if there is anything you do not understand
learn to recognize the side-effects of treatment so that you can take steps to reduce them and shorten their length