NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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The NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms features 7,790 terms related to cancer and medicine.

Browse the dictionary by selecting a letter of the alphabet or by entering a cancer-related word or phrase in the search box.

breast-conserving surgery
(brest-kun-SER-ving SER-juh-ree)
An operation to remove the breast cancer but not the breast itself. Types of breast-conserving surgery include lumpectomy (removal of the lump), quadrantectomy (removal of one quarter, or quadrant, of the breast), and segmental mastectomy (removal of the cancer as well as some of the breast tissue around the tumor and the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor). Also called breast-sparing surgery.

EnlargeBreast-conserving surgery; the drawing on the left shows removal of the tumor. The drawing on the right shows removal of the tumor and some of the lymph nodes under the arm. Also shown, is an inset with a cross-section of the breast, including the chest wall lining, fatty tissue, and the tumor.

Breast-conserving surgery. The tumor and some normal tissue around it are removed, but not the breast itself. Some of the lymph nodes under the arm may also be removed.