Example sentence:

She decided to _ the tumor in her breasts.

  • 9
    Excise can mean this. Unfortunately it's also used in relation to tax. – Steve Lovell Jul 19 '17 at 6:41
  • @SteveLovell your suggestion led me to the word "extirpate." – alex Jul 19 '17 at 6:55
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    Based on the definition extirpate looks like a good word. I can't recall coming across it before, which makes me wonder how easily it would be understood. Others will be better placed to comment. – Steve Lovell Jul 19 '17 at 6:58
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    Excise is a good choice. Extirpate is rarely used and means much more than just "surgically extract". – michael.hor257k Jul 19 '17 at 8:40
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    The sample sentence (to my mind) implies that she was going to do the surgery herself. "She decided to have the tumor in her breast excised" implies someone else was going to do the cutting. Also, if there is only one tumor, it will only be in one breast (usually). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jul 19 '17 at 9:57

The word is excise, and in BrE it's pronounced with the stress on the second syllable to distinguish it from tax (where it's a noun and stressed on the first syllable). The verb excise meaning tax is very rare, and the examples here would never be interpreted as "tax".

verb with object

  1. Cut out surgically.

    ‘the precision with which surgeons can excise brain tumours’
    ‘excised tissue’


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    +1, though I'm not sure I'd go so far as "would never be interpreted as 'tax'". Governments will find a way to tax pretty much anything! – Steve Lovell Jul 19 '17 at 9:37
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    Alternatively, you can use resect, whose definition is excise. – Elan Hamburger Jul 19 '17 at 15:45
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    Excise = tax is not at all rare in American English, unless you can avoid discussing or dealing with governments :-( – jamesqf Jul 19 '17 at 17:18

An alternative would be resect. This would avoid any confusion with taxation.



  1. Cut out (tissue or part of an organ) ‘a small piece of resected colon’


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Ablate (MWD)

to remove or destroy especially by cutting, abrading, or evaporating

She decided to ablate the tumor in her breasts.

Example (cancer.org):

Ablation is treatment that destroys liver tumors without removing them.

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    This is the opposite treatment approach from the requested "surgical extraction" meaning. It's something you might do to a tumour, but doesn't strictly answer the question as asked. I think this would be a better answer if you pointed out that it was only a related suggestion, and not a direct answer. – Peter Cordes Jul 19 '17 at 16:12
  • I had a cardiac ablation to fix a heart arrythmia. They definitely did not remove my heart or any part of it, though they did burn a little spot. – Lee Daniel Crocker Jul 19 '17 at 23:04

Would you be able to define a new verb, to lumpect? A lumpectomy is the single word describing the procedure.

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  • 7
    Probably best not to make up new words, especially if you want your writing to be easily understood by others. – Cody Gray Jul 19 '17 at 12:06
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    I'd advise against doing this. Not only is it unnecessary, but it will make you look silly if you break "lumpectomy" into "lumpect" since it totally disregards that "-ectomy" is a suffix meaning a procedure to remove party of the body. – Dancrumb Jul 19 '17 at 13:49

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