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Know your breast surgery options

Lumpectomy with radiation as safe as mastectomy

For women with early-stage breast cancer, survival rates are the same for lumpectomy with radiation as they are for mastectomy. Lumpectomy is surgery to remove a tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue. Mastectomy is surgery to remove an entire breast.

Both procedures have advantages and disadvantages that apply differently to each woman’s medical condition and life situation, so every choice is an individual one. Among patients who have the choice, half decide on mastectomy.

Many experts call lumpectomy followed by radiation the preferred treatment because of the ability to use breast-conserving surgeries to spare breast tissue and preserve much of the breast’s appearance and sensation.

Breast-conserving surgeries are being further refined and include oncoplasty breast surgery and immediate breast reconstruction. These approaches bring together a breast surgeon and a plastic surgeon to jointly plan and carry out the procedure, with a goal to remove the cancerous tissue and provide cosmetically pleasing results for the patient without a second surgery.

“It is vitally important for a surgeon to be willing to answer any questions a woman may have about the choice between lumpectomy and mastectomy,” said General Surgeon Robert Nunoo, M.D., of MidMichigan Physicians Group. “At the same time, before making a decision, women should find out as much as they can about the risks and benefits. A surgeon can provide support with expert recommendations and data, but ultimately, the patient decides for themselves how the pros and cons apply to their lives.”

Dr. Nunoo and his partners, general surgeons Murielle Brohez, M.D., and John Nguyen, D.O., all perform breast cancer surgeries in Clare and Gladwin. For an appointment, call (989) 802-8773 or toll-free (866) 786-8523. For more information, visit www.midmichigan.org/doctors