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Breast Conservation Therapy


Breast conservation therapy (BCT) is also called a lumpectomy. Only the part of the breast with cancer and some area around it are removed. Radiation therapy may be given at a later date to kill cancer cells that were not removed with surgery.



  • Antibiotic medicine: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Take them as directed.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your surgeon or breast specialist as directed:

You may need to return to have your wound checked, drain taken out, or your stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

How to bathe with stitches:

Follow instructions on when you can bathe. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Pat the area gently with a towel to dry the area. Put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.


You may need to have radiation therapy after you have healed from your surgery. This is usually done 2 to 4 weeks after surgery. Radiation therapy may help kill cancer cells that were left and keep these cancer cells from spreading.

Breast self-exams:

Do a monthly breast self-exam. If you are having monthly periods, do it 2 or 3 days after your period ends. If you have gone through menopause, check your breasts on the same day each month. You may also need to have a mammogram taken regularly. Ask for more information about how to do a breast self-exam and when to have a mammogram.

Breast prosthesis:

A prosthesis (artificial breast) that can be worn in the bra may help add fullness and balance to your breasts. A breast prosthesis may be made of foam or polyester fiber. Ask for more information about breast prosthesis.

For more information:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians
    11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
    Leawood , KS 66211-2680
    Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
    Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
    Web Address:

Contact your surgeon or breast specialist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have discharge or pain in the area where the drain was inserted.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You feel something is bulging out into your chest and not going back in.
  • You have pain in your chest or armpit that does not go away even after you take pain medicines.
  • You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
  • You have blood, pus, or a foul odor coming from your incision.
  • Your shoulder, arm, or fingers are numb, tingly, cool, blue, or pale.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.