Preventive Mastectomy (cont.)
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1. What is preventive mastectomy, and what types of procedures are used in preventive mastectomy?
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Preventive mastectomy (also called prophylactic or risk-reducing mastectomy ) is the surgical removal of one or both breasts in an effort to prevent or reduce the risk of breast cancer. Preventive mastectomy involves one of two basic procedures: total mastectomy and subcutaneous mastectomy. In a total mastectomy, the doctor removes the entire breast and nipple. In a subcutaneous mastectomy, the doctor removes the breast tissue but leaves the nipple intact. Doctors most often recommend a total mastectomy because it removes more tissue than a subcutaneous mastectomy. A total mastectomy provides the greatest protection against cancer developing in any remaining breast tissue.
2. Why would a woman consider undergoing preventive mastectomy?
Women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer may consider preventive mastectomy as a way of decreasing their risk of this disease. Some of the factors that increase a woman's chance of developing breast cancer include the following:
It is important for a woman who is considering preventive mastectomy to talk with a doctor about her risk of developing breast cancer (with or without a mastectomy), the surgical procedure, and potential complications. All women are different, so preventive mastectomy should be considered in the context of each woman's unique risk factors and her level of concern.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2014
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Preventive Mastectomy - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with mastectomy.
Preventive Mastectomy - Reconstruction Question: Did you have breast reconstruction after undergoing preventive mastectomy?
Preventive Mastectomy - Breast Cancer Question: Did you get breast cancer despite having a preventive mastectomy?
Preventive Mastectomy - Procedure Question: What kind of preventive mastectomy procedure did you have, a total mastectomy or a subcutaneous mastectomy?