ZocdocAnswersWill I have to have my breast removed if I get breast cancer?

Question

Will I have to have my breast removed if I get breast cancer?

Could they just remove a portion? I'm 31 and worried.

Answer

In the past, removal of the entire breast (i.e., mastectomy) was the standard of care in the treatment of newly-diagnosed breast cancer. However, more recent studies have shown that for small breast cancers that are diagnosed at an early stage, combination therapy with a lumpectomy (removal of the breast tumor and the local surrounding tissue) and local radiation therapy can be as effective as a radical mastectomy. If you are worried about breast cancer for whatever reason (such as a strong family history of breast cancer or the detection of a palpable lump or mass), then you should talk to your primary care physician about your concerns. He/she can perform a detailed history and physical exam, and can talk with you about the need for further imaging (such as with ultrasound) if needed to make a diagnosis.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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