This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables are a useful way to look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, to get the most out of the tables, it’s important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.
Introduction: Lumpectomy (also called breast conserving surgery) plus radiation therapy is as effective as mastectomy in treating early breast cancer (see Table 37). However, rates of these procedures vary by region in the U.S. The lowest rates of mastectomy (and thus, the highest rates of lumpectomy) are on the East and West Coasts, with the highest rates in the Northeast [1-3]. The table below shows the differences in U.S. mastectomy rates for women ages 65 and older.
Mastectomy for Breast Cancer by State, 2012(among women enrolled in Medicare) View an interactive map of these mastectomy rates.
Mastectomy (per 100,000 women)
District of Columbia
Source: The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, 2015 
Rates of lumpectomy and mastectomy can differ based on where a woman lives. Radiation therapy is needed after a lumpectomy. So, women who have to travel a long distance to get radiation therapy may prefer to have a mastectomy. Personal preference is also important. Some women very much wish to keep their breasts, while for other women mastectomy offers peace of mind.
Differences can also occur when women do not understand the risks and benefits of lumpectomy and mastectomy. Lumpectomy plus radiation therapy is not an option for all women. Talk with your health care provider about whether it is an option for you. Learning about the risk and benefits of your surgery options and talking with your provider about which treatments are best for you can help you feel confident that you are getting the best care possible. You should never hesitate to seek a second or even a third opinion from providers at different hospitals or practices.
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