The surgeon removes the breast cancer and some normal tissue around it (in order to get clear margins). Depending on the size and location of the cancer, this procedure usually results in removing all the cancer, while leaving you with a breast with a scar.

The surgeon removes the cancer, some of the breast tissue, and usually also takes out some of the lymph nodes under the arm to find out if the cancer has spread. In most cases, radiation therapy is used to destroy any cancer cells that may not have been removed by surgery.

The above material excerpted from "Understanding Breast Cancer Treatment: A Guide for Patients," NCI Booklet (No. 98-4251). Illustrations drawn and contributed by Susan Spangler.


Instructions Before Surgery

The information below will help you prepare for your surgery and may help make your surgery more comfortable. These instructions are intended to supplement, not replace the advice of your health care provider. To learn more, please click on the appropriate topic.

PDF iconLumpectomy/ Partial Mastectomy/ Re-excision


PDF iconLumpectomy/Partial Mastectomy with Axillary Lymph Node Dissection


Exercises to Prepare for a Lumpectomy

To shorten your recovery time from a lumpectomy with axillary lymph node dissection, you may want to familiarize yourself with and follow the suggestions for physical pre- and post-operative exercises below.


PDF iconDownload Lumpectomy Pre- and Post-Operative Exercises