Mastectomy

A mastectomy is surgery to remove the breast.

Mastectomy is surgery to remove part or all of the breast. There are different types of mastectomy that differ in the amount of tissue and lymph nodes removed.

In a mastectomy, the surgeon removes the whole breast that contains the DCIS or cancer. There are two main types of mastectomy:
  • Total (simple) mastectomy: The surgeon removes your whole breast. Sometimes, the surgeon also takes out one or more of the lymph nodes under your arm.
  • Modified radical mastectomy: The surgeon removes your whole breast, many of the lymph nodes under your arm, and the lining over your chest muscles.

Some women will also need radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or targeted therapy

If you have a mastectomy, you may choose to wear a prosthesis (breast-like form) in your bra or have breast reconstruction surgery.

Breast-sparing surgery means the surgeon removes only the ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or cancer and some normal tissue around it. If you have cancer, the surgeon will also remove one or more lymph nodes from under your arm. Breast-sparing surgery usually keeps your breast looking much like it did before surgery.

Other words for breast-sparing surgery include:
  • Lumpectomy
  • Partial mastectomy
  • Breast-conserving surgery
  • Segmental mastectomy

After breast-sparing surgery, most women also receive radiation therapy. The main goal of this treatment is to keep cancer from coming back in the same breast. Some women will also need chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and/or targeted therapy.