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Why is the whole breast often removed with breast cancer and not just the tumor?

By Anonymous August 15, 2009 - 10:03pm
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I hope you won't think this is a dumb question but I've been wondering about this lately...when someone has breast cancer, why do they often have one or both whole breasts removed? if the tumor is inside the breast why can't they just take that portion from the inside and keep the whole outer part there? it seems like with other surgeries they take out the cancerous part only--like with men and prostate cancer you don't hear of men losing their entire testicles (or do they?)

thank you for your help with this. I've had a couple/few friends diagnosed over the years and at least 2 have had masectomies and now they are talking reconstruction and I was just curious about this.

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In your example, did you mean testicular cancer (instead of prostate cancer)? The prostate is not located in the testicles, so hopefully they don't remove them! (ha ha). In men who do have testicular cancer, sometimes the entire testicle is removed; other times, the cancerous lump can be removed.

In women who have breast cancer, sometimes only the tumor can be removed (Lumpectomy), other times the tumor and some surrounding tissue and/or lymph nodes are removed (Segmentectomy), and when these methods are not enough to remove all of the cancer that has spread, then either a Simple Mastectomy or Radical Mastectomy would be needed.

Surgery is based on the many factors, including how many tissues and glands have been effected by the cancer. If you would like to read more: Breast Cancer Treatment.

August 16, 2009 - 7:59am
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