What Is a Mastectomy?
A mastectomy is the complete removal of one or both breasts, usually due to cancer.Â Sometimes all or part of the auxiliary lymph glands (armpit) will also be extracted, but it depends which type of mastectomy one receives.Â There are several types: a simple/total mastectomy, a modified radical mastectomy, and a radical mastectomy.Â The modified radical mastectomy is the most common health care procedure designed to remove cancer, because it is as efficient as the radical mastectomy, yet less traumatic and disfiguring.Â Â
Who Is Liable to Receive a Mastectomy?
Women suffering from ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or women seeking prophylactic mastectomies in order to prevent future cancerous outbreaks, are likely to require a mastectomy.Â It is also an option for those who have cancer in more than one part of the breast.Â For some patients, a mastectomy can also provide peace of mind and doctors suggest it to patients if he or she feels they are at high risk of developing cancer in the future.Â
How Is a Mastectomy Performed?
In a simple/total mastectomy, the physician removes the entire breast, but does not remove any of the auxiliary lymph glands or the muscle tissue beneath the breast.Â A modified radical mastectomy, however, removes the entire breast and also designated portions of the auxiliary lymph glands.Â A radical mastectomy removes the entire breast and all of the axillary lymph nodes in addition to the muscles beneath the breast and chest wall.Â This intensive health care operation is completed to assure that no cancer has spread beyond the breast tissue.