Breast Conservation Therapy refers to the use of less radical surgery than a total mastectomy as an effective treatment for breast cancer when appropriate. Radiation therapy is often included in the treatment of breast cancer that is treated with breast conservation Therapy. Every effort is made to preserve as much normal breast tissue without compromising the surgical outcome. This type of surgery is sometimes called partial (or segmental) mastectomy. How much of the breast is removed depends on the size and location of the tumor and other factors.
A lumpectomy removes only the breast lump and a surrounding margin of normal tissue. Radiation therapy is usually given after a lumpectomy. If adjuvant chemotherapy is to be given as well, radiation is usually delayed until the chemotherapy is completed.
A quadrantectomy removes more breast tissue than a lumpectomy. For a quadrantectomy, one-quarter of the breast is removed. Radiation therapy is usually given after surgery. Again, this may be delayed if chemotherapy is to be given as well.
All removed specimens are examined under a microscope by a trained breast pathologist.
For most women with stage I or II breast cancer, breast-conserving surgery (BCS) plus radiation therapy is as effective as mastectomy. Survival rates of women treated with these two approaches are the same.