Womens Health

Mastectomy For Beast Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, finding information about the types of breast cancer treatments available is an important step in making the appropriate decision to preserve your breast health and live a long and fulfilling life. In consultation with your health care provider, the following article can help you decide if mastectomy breast surgery is the right breast cancer treatment option or prevention method for you based on your personal well being and health concerns.


What is a Mastectomy?

Mastectomy surgery is a procedure used to treat breast cancer in women and involves the surgical removal of one or both breasts in order to prevent the spread of cancer and preserve breast health. The extent of breast surgery will depend on many factors including the patient’s diagnosis regarding breast cancer stages, the size of an individual’s breast, and whether or not reconstructive surgery after mastectomy is performed.


Types of Mastectomies

There are several types of mastectomy procedures that may be performed. The different types of mastectomy surgery options for the treatment of breast cancer include the following:


  • Partial Mastectomyor Segmented Mastectomy. This type of mastectomy surgery is the least invasive option available and typically involves the removal of a small portion (about one quarter) of the breast. A partial mastectomy may be performed if a patient is in the early breast cancer stages or if the tumor is relatively small.
  • Total or Simple Mastectomy. A simple mastectomy involves the removal of the entire breast, the breast skin, and the nipple.
  • Modified Radical Mastectomy. A modified radical mastectomy is the most common type of mastectomy performed and is identical to a total mastectomy. However, some axillary lymph nodes are additional removed during this procedure.
  • Radical Mastectomy. A radical mastectomy procedure is not commonly performed. The procedure involves the complete removal of the breast, along with the axillary lymph nodes as well as the muscles lining the chest wall.

Axillary lymph nodes are lymph nodes that are found beneath the armpits and just above the breasts. The function of these lymph nodes is to drain the body of fluids and fight infections. The axillary lymph nodes may be removed during a mastectomy procedure in order to be examined for cancer cells. The presence of cancer cells in these lymph nodes may indicate a more aggressive type of cancer and guide future treatment of breast cancer.


Who is Mastectomy Surgery For?

Several factors may affect whether or nor mastectomy surgery for the treatment of breast cancer is an appropriate option for you, and whether it is a recommended option over other breast cancer treatments such as lumpectomy surgery or radiation treatment.

Mastectomy surgery may be recommended for breast cancer treatment in the following patients:


  • Pregnant women who are in the first or second trimester and cannot undergo radiation treatment due to the high risks posed to the unborn child
  • Patients who have multiple tumors in different locations of the breast
  • Patients with widespread or potentially malignant microcalcifications throughout the breast
  • Those who have already undergone radiation treatment breast cancer symptoms
  • Individuals with a strong family history of breast cancer or patients known to have a gene mutation with a high risk of breast cancer relapse
  • The tumor is connected to the nipple or is located beneath the nipple making preservation of the area difficult
  • Patients with a history of connective tissue disease such as lupus and cannot tolerate radiation treatment

In addition, mastectomy may be an appropriate breast cancer treatment if a breast tumor is too large relative to the size of the breast. Mastectomy may also be a better option for patients who live a long distance away from radiation facilities, making the six-week period of radiation therapy too difficult.


Deciding On A Mastectomy

Discuss your options with a health care provider in order to make a decision regarding the breast cancer treatment that is best for you. Undergoing surgery is always difficult, and mastectomy surgery carries with it its own concerns. Many women consider breast reconstructive surgery after mastectomy in order to reshape the breast. Others feel comfortable simply knowing that they have reduced the risks presented to their health.

Mastectomy surgery has helped many women with breast cancer continue to live long and fulfilling lives. Talk to your doctor to see if mastectomy surgery is the right breast cancer treatment option for you.


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