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Surgery usually involves removing part, or sometimes all, of the breast (mastectomy). The type of operation you have usually depends on the size and position of the cancer. Your surgeon will recommend surgery that keeps as much of the breast tissue and the shape of the breast as possible. This is called breast-conserving surgery. However, in some situations removing all of the breast (mastectomy) is advised. Your doctor and breast care nurse will talk you through your options.
Your surgery may also involve having the lymph nodes in your armpit removed| or you may have tests to check the nodes|.
Sometimes women are given treatment with hormonal therapy| or chemotherapy| to shrink the cancer before they have surgery.
In early breast cancer, studies show that removing the lump followed by radiotherapy| is as effective as a mastectomy. Some women may be asked to choose for themselves which operation to have – we have more information about the advantages and disadvantages.
Types of surgery for breast cancer include:
Content last reviewed: 1 August 2011
Next planned review: 2013
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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