Mastectomy (Removal of the Breast) for Breast Cancer
Mastectomy is removal of the breast. Other nearby tissue may also be removed if it appears that cancer may have spread to these areas.
All mastectomies remove the whole breast. Because the size and location of tumors and where the cancer might have spread differ from one person to another, the amount of other tissue removed during surgery also varies.
Reference Mastectomy procedures include:
- Total or simple mastectomy, which is the removal of the whole breast.
- Modified radical mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast, some of the lymph nodes under the arm, and sometimes part of the chest wall muscles.
- Radical mastectomy, which is the removal of the breast, chest muscles, and all of the lymph nodes under the arm (Reference axillary lymph node dissection). This surgery is rarely used now.
Depending on the location of the tumor in the breast or other factors, some women may be able to have a skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy. Skin-sparing mastectomy leaves most of the skin that was over the breast, except for the nipple and the areola. Nipple-sparing mastectomy saves the skin over the breast as well as the nipple and areola.
Some women choose to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Reconstruction can be done during the same surgery as the mastectomy, or it may be done later as a separate procedure.
- Opens New Window Breast Cancer: Should I Have Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy? Opens New Window
In addition to surgery, you may have Reference radiation therapy Opens New Window, Reference chemotherapy Opens New Window, Reference hormone therapy Opens New Window, or a combination of these treatments.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: June 28, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Douglas A. Stewart, MD - Medical Oncology