Phyllodes tumors are usually noncancerous lumps that develop in your breast and require surgery. It can take roughly 2–6 weeks to fully recover from surgery.

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Phyllodes tumors are relatively rare and most often occur in middle aged people assigned female at birth. The tumors develop in the connective tissue in your breast called the “stroma,” which is made up of ligaments and fatty tissue.

Most phyllodes tumors aren’t cancerous but still have the potential to grow large and quickly, so doctors almost always recommend having them removed.

The main treatments for phyllodes tumors are lumpectomy and mastectomy. A lumpectomy involves removing the tumor and surrounding tissue, and a mastectomy involves removing a larger section of your breast. Your recovery time largely depends on which type of surgery you receive.

Learn more about phyllodes tumors.

Phyllodes tumors can often be treated with a lumpectomy but sometimes require more invasive procedures called a partial” or “total mastectomy.”


A lumpectomy involves the removal of the tumor and a small amount of tissue around it. It allows you to keep as much of your breast as possible. After the surgery, your breast will be slightly smaller or a slightly different shape, but the results are often not very noticeable.

A doctor is most likely to recommend a lumpectomy if your tumor is small and noncancerous.

Partial mastectomy

If the tumor is too large to be taken out with a lumpectomy, you may need a partial or total mastectomy.

A partial mastectomy involves the removal of a larger amount of tissue, when compared with a lumpectomy, but still aims to conserve as much of your breast as possible.

Total mastectomy

A total mastectomy, also called a “simple mastectomy,” involves removing all of your breast and the tissue that covers the muscles in your chest. Your nipple may or may not be removed.

Many people can make a full recovery within 6 weeks of phyllodes tumor surgery if they don’t develop any complications.

Lumpectomy or partial mastectomy

You may be able to go home the same day as your procedure if you receive a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy. Your surgical dressing will likely be removed about 5 days after your procedure.

According to the American Cancer Society, most people can go back to their regular activities about 2 weeks after breast-conserving surgery.

Total mastectomy

A total mastectomy is a more extensive procedure than breast-conserving surgery that may require 3–6 weeks to recover fully. It will likely take about 2–3 weeks for your wounds to heal, and most people take between 4 and 8 weeks off work.

You’ll likely feel sore for a few days after your procedure and will be given pain relievers when you’re in the hospital. You may need to stay in the hospital for 1–2 nights.

Surgery is always required for phyllodes tumors since they tend to be fast-growing. You may also receive radiation therapy after your surgery if the tumor is cancerous or borderline cancerous.

The outlook for people with phyllodes tumors is usually good. The 10-year survival rate is around 87%. The outlook for people with cancerous tumors tends to be poor if the cancer spreads to distant areas.

Less than 30% of tumors are thought to be cancerous, and the remainder are benign or borderline cancerous. Recurrence occurs in about:

  • 10–17% of benign tumors
  • 14–25% of borderline tumors
  • 23–30% of cancerous tumors

How long do you have to be off work for a lumpectomy?

Many people can return to their typical daily activities within 2 weeks of receiving a lumpectomy.

Does a phyllodes tumor make you tired?

You may be tired if you have cancer or if you receive treatment for cancer because your body is healing.

What are the risks of phyllodes tumor surgery?

Risk rates are low for surgeries that remove phyllodes tumors. About 20% of people develop a seroma, which is a collection of fluid that develops under your skin. About 8% of people develop an infection following a mastectomy.

How do they remove a phyllodes tumor?

A phyllodes tumor may be removed with a lumpectomy, in which the tumor and surrounding tissue are removed. It may also be removed with a more invasive surgery in which all, or almost all, of your breast is removed.

Phyllodes tumors require surgery even if they’re noncancerous because they tend to grow quickly. Small tumors may be treated with a lumpectomy, but larger tumors may require a more invasive procedure called a “mastectomy.”

Many people can return to regular activity within 2–3 weeks of receiving a lumpectomy and 3–6 weeks after a total mastectomy.