A lumpectomy, or a wide local excision, is also referred to as breast-conserving surgery. The surgeon removes the cancerous area and a surrounding margin of normal tissue. A second incision may be made in order to remove the lymph nodes. This treatment aims to maintain a normal breast appearance when the surgery is over.
After the lumpectomy, a five- to eight-week course of radiation therapy is often used to treat the remaining breast tissue. The majority of women who have small, early-stage breast cancers are excellent candidates for this treatment approach.
The FDA has ruled that the cancer drug Avastin is no longer approved for treating advanced breast cancer -- but can still be used for other cancers.
In a news release, the FDA stated that Avastin "has not been shown to be safe and effective" for treating breast cancer, but that Avastin would stay on the market as an FDA-approved treatment for certain types of colon, lung, kidney, and brain cancer.
The FDA states that Avastin's risks include severe high blood pressure; bleeding;...
Women who are not usually eligible for a lumpectomy include those who have already had radiation therapy to the affected breast, have two or more areas of cancer in the same breast that are too far apart to be removed through one incision, have a large tumor, or have cancer that was not completely removed during the lumpectomy surgery. Also, women with an advanced stage or metastatic cancer are not eligible for a lumpectomy.