National Breast Cancer Coalition

Myth #15: In terms of survival, removing the entire breast is better than just removing the cancer and having radiation treatment

FALSE. Completely removing the breast—known as mastectomy—is usually not more effective than just taking out the cancer—known as lumpectomy. There are issues with both treatments, and patients need to be informed to make the right decision for them.

It may seem logical that if breast cancer is found, removing the breast is more likely to be a lifesaving treatment. Clinical trials have shown, however, that mastectomy and lumpectomy with radiation have the same result for mortality in most instances. Once you know the pros and cons for each treatment for your type of breast cancer and your situation, the choice is a personal one. If a doctor recommends one instead of the other, ask why and educate yourself on the evidence.