Chances of Survival with Breast Cancer Treatment
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Chances of Survival with Breast Cancer Treatment

Expert advice on breast cancer from the National Center for Policy Research for Women & Families.

Q. "What's my chance of surviving this cancer with each treatment?"

A. Most women who are newly diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer have a choice: surgery that removes the cancer but not the breast (such as lumpectomy) or removing the entire breast with a mastectomy (also called a modified radical mastectomy). The decision is not between your breast and your life. Women with early-stage breast cancer who undergo breast-conserving surgery (such as lumpectomy) with radiation therapy live just as long as those who undergo mastectomy. Life expectancy is the same regardless of which choice a woman makes.

When the patient is told that the survival rate for lumpectomy with radiation is the same as for mastectomy, some women may be surprised or skeptical.

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