CONTEXT: The incidence rates of breast cancer have been high in many developed countries, however, in developing countries mortality is relatively higher at late detection. OBJECTIVE: This is a correlational descriptive study with a quantitative approach and cross-sectional design whose main objective is to analyze the quality of life in women with breast cancer undergoing breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy. METHODS: The data collection period was from May 2014 to May 2015, and the total sample was of 106 women. From these patients, 66 underwent breast-conserving surgery and 40 underwent mastectomy, and they were followed up by the mastology team of the Gynecology Outpatient Service of Botucatu University Hospital. RESULTS: Among the main results, it was verified that, in the functional scale of the EORTC questionnaires, the patients who underwent breast-conserving surgery had averages higher than those of the mastectomy group in most domains. However, only the body image domain was significant. In the symptom: pain, dyspnea, insomnia, constipation, financial difficulties, and arm and breast symptoms. On the other hand, the mastectomy group had lower averages in these domains: fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and side effects of systemic therapy. The only significant domains were vomiting and insomnia. Regarding the global health and quality-of-life scale, it was found that the highest average was shown in the group of patients who underwent mastectomy. As for the correlation between the domains of the EORTC with conservative surgery and significant correlations were: physical function, role playing, emotional function, social function, fatigue, pain, insomnia, loss of appetite, diarrhea, financial difficulties, adverse events of the systemic therapy, and arm symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The conclusion was that, despite the fact that the breast-conserving surgery group presented higher averages in the scores of most domains of both EORTC questionnaires, the mastectomy group had a better quality of life and global health after the surgery compared to those who underwent breast-conserving surgery.