Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

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


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


In the past, removal of the entire breast (i.e., mastectomy) was the standard of care in the treatment of newly-diagnosed breast cancer.

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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.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.