JOPLIN, MO. --When you or someone you love has breast cancer, there is a big choice to make.
Do you keep the breast - attacking just the tumor - or completely remove it?
A local surgeon answers the tough questions about which to consider.
Doctor David Baker at the Freeman Women's Pavilion uses both mastectomy and lumpectomy to treat breast cancer.
"Fortunately in most cases we are able to make the choice typically through imaging and mammograms we generally catch cases early," Baker says.
But there is a key difference.
With mastectomy, surgery gets rid of the cancer by removing the entire breast.
"In the case of breast cancer would remove breast cancer tissue skin and nipple," Baker says.
The lumpectomy however is a type of breast conservation therapy.
It is used to remove cancer and a rim of tissue around the cancer that is healthy.
"If its small isolated tumor if you have a tumor less than four centimeters solitary but some women are unfortunate to have multifocal disease more than one tumor inside the breast," Baker says.
There are psychological effects to consider in both types of surgery.
Some patients ask for a mastectomy so there is no chance for more cancer to develop in the future.
5 year recurrence rates are low for both but slightly less with the mastectomy.
However, it all comes down to whether you want to keep the breast.
Doctor Baker says that is an individual decision each patient has to make.