Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Doctor Should I Consult for Mastectomy?

For treating breast cancers with mastectomy, you should consult Surgical Oncologist who would advise and guide you about the mastectomy process.

2. Under what conditions are Mastectomy recommended?

Mastectomy is not always a suitable breast cancer treatment, but in many cases its very effective. A specialist responsible for care would be able to advice on this and recommend mastectomy when:

  • The tumor is large in proportion to the breast i.e. greater than 5cm
  • The cancer is present in more than one area of the breast
  • Pre-cancerous cells [known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)], have affected most of the breast
  • If breast is small and lumpectomy would leave very little breast tissue
  • If surgeon has made multiple attempts for removing tumor with lumpectomy
  • If lumpectomy and radiation may not be an option for small tumor (e.g. less than 4 cm)
  • If believed that mastectomy would give greater peace of mind to the patient.
3. How effective are these risk reducing surgeries?

Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer by at least 95% in women having harmful (disease-causing) mutation in BRCA1 gene or the BRCA 2 gene and up to 90% in women having a strong family history of breast cancer.

4. What are other options besides Mastectomy?

There are other options apart from mastectomy, but they may not lower the breast cancer risk. Such options include:

Use of prescription drugs: Those with a high risk of breast cancer can opt for Tamoxifen or another type of prescription drug known as aromatase inhibitors. This can lower the risk by as much as 50%.

MRI & Mammograms: Close observations by MRI, mammograms and other breast exams by healthcare provider and noticing any changes in breasts. These observations can be helpful in early detection of breast cancer.

5. What is the recovery time for Mastectomy and is breast reconstruction possible at the same time?

Recovery takes about a month on an average. Breast reconstruction is possible and total surgery time would extend up to 5-6 hours when mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery are done together.

6. What are Early Methods to detect breast cancer?

  • Self Examination of Breast can detect an early lump
  • Examination by healthcare professionals - Regular yearly check-ups after the age of 30 to 35 years can help in early detection of breast cancer
  • MRI & Mammograms: Close observations by MRI, mammograms can help detect breast cancers early.
The above methods of observations can be helpful in early detection of breast cancer.

Most Popular on Medindia