Example sentence:

She decided to _ the tumor in her breasts.

  • 9
    Excise can mean this. Unfortunately it's also used in relation to tax. Jul 19, 2017 at 6:41
  • @SteveLovell your suggestion led me to the word "extirpate."
    – alex
    Jul 19, 2017 at 6:55
  • 2
    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. Jul 19, 2017 at 6:58
  • 4
    Excise is a good choice. Extirpate is rarely used and means much more than just "surgically extract". Jul 19, 2017 at 8:40
  • 11
    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). Jul 19, 2017 at 9:57

4 Answers 4


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’


  • 1
    +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! Jul 19, 2017 at 9:37
  • 2
    Alternatively, you can use resect, whose definition is excise. Jul 19, 2017 at 15:45
  • 1
    Excise = tax is not at all rare in American English, unless you can avoid discussing or dealing with governments :-(
    – jamesqf
    Jul 19, 2017 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’



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.

  • 3
    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. Jul 19, 2017 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. Jul 19, 2017 at 23:04

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

  • 7
    Probably best not to make up new words, especially if you want your writing to be easily understood by others. Jul 19, 2017 at 12:06
  • 6
    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, 2017 at 13:49

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