It may be difficult to decide whether to have a mastectomy (complete breast removal) or a breast conserving surgery (tumour is removed and breast preserved). Discuss with your surgeon to find out if you can choose between mastectomy and breast conservation surgery plus radiation therapy.
Take time to study your options and weigh the risks and benefits of each and choose the surgery that’s right for you. Your preferences, priorities, accessibility to medical centres, finances and lifestyle all play a part in your decision. You may choose to have breast-conserving surgery because you don’t want to lose your breast or having a mastectomy may give you peace of mind as it removes more breast tissue. Talk to your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of surgery or you may take help from patients or breast cancer survivors who have had each type of surgery.
Survival after any surgery is the same, no matter which option you choose. Several studies show that women with early breast cancer that is stage 1 or stage 2, who have breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy have the same survival rates as women who have a mastectomy. This means that, if there no medical reason for you to have one rather than the other, your surgeon will give you a choice between the 2 surgeries.
The decision whether you will need chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or HER2-targeted therapy is not affected by the choice of surgery. However, radiation therapy will be given to you, if you undergo breast conservation surgery. Drug treatments are given according to the characteristics of the tumour, not the type of surgery.