Seeking the benefits of breast-conserving surgery

October 23, 2015


IN THE NEWS: If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may need to make some serious, sometimes difficult decisions. Among them: Should you have a mastectomy, in which the entire breast and nearby tissue is removed, or a lumpectomy, also known as breast-conserving surgery? 

The women's health web site Lifescript discussed this issue with breast cancer specialist Dr. Alice Police, medical director, UC Irvine Health Pacific Breast Care Center

Many surgeons recommend lumpectomy whenever possible, says Police. Also known as partial mastectomy, it’s a procedure in which the cancer, lymph nodes and some healthy tissue around the tumor are removed, but not the whole breast.

The goal, after the cancerous tissue is removed, “is to be cosmetically appealing – to ensure the patient has a nice-looking breast,” Dr. Police says.

But while many women are candidates for breast-conserving surgery, you can’t assume it’s right for you, she says.

“[Surgery options] aren’t a smorgasbord,” Dr. Police says. “You don’t get to walk up and choose whatever type you want.” 

Read more of Dr. Police's interview with Lifescript ›

Learn more about UC Irvine Health breast cancer services ›

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