Breast Cancer Surgery

Partial versus full mastectomy

It is now recognised that, in properly selected women, just removing the part of the breast where the cancer is (partial mastectomy), combined with post-op radiotherapy, has the same survival outcome as removing the whole breast (full mastectomy). However, when the cancer is larger, or cancer is found in more than one part of the breast, or where the amount of breast that would need to be removed would result in a poor cosmetic outcome, then full mastectomy will still be recommended. It is now common practice to offer a breast reconstruction and for many women this can be done at the same time as the mastectomy so that women wake from their surgery with a ‘new breast’. Even with partial mastectomies reconstructive surgery can be offered. The cosmetic outcomes achieved these days can make telling which breast has been reconstructed difficult compared to the natural breast.

This page was last updated at 11:58AM on November 25, 2019.