Breast cancer begins in the breast and spreads first to the lymph nodes of the armpit (axilla). When a breast lump is found to contain cancer, and if the cancer has not spread beyond the nodes of the axilla to distant sites, it is often removed surgically. Radiation therapy may be used in addition to surgery. In certain cases of malignant lumps, lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy is as effective as a radical mastectomy. Typically, lumpectomy does not require a breast replacement (prosthesis).
Update Date 2/4/2015
Updated by: Todd Campbell, MD, FACS, Clinical Assistant Professor, Rowan SOM, Department of Surgery; Inspira Medical Group Surgical Associates, Elmer, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.