Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in the U.S. Roughly 12 percent of all American women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives. It’s estimated that around 268,600 new invasive breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2019 alone. One of the ways doctors commonly treat breast cancer is through a mastectomy. Unfortunately, mastectomies are often extremely invasive. A new type of mastectomy has been developed that is less invasive than traditional mastectomies.
Breast Cancer Treatment: What is Traditional Mastectomy?
There are several types of mastectomies, and all involve removing breast tissue. A total mastectomy requires surgeons to remove the entire breast in order to remove the cancer. When this process is performed, the muscle below the breast remains. Usually, this type of mastectomy is required for women with several or large areas of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). In some cases, the lymph nodes in the underarm areas must be removed as well. In the most serious of cases, the muscle below the breast must also be removed.
How is the New Mastectomy Less Invasive?
A new form of mastectomy has been developed in which the surface of the breast is left intact. The process is commonly referred to as a “nipple-sparing” mastectomy. During the process, breast tissue is removed while leaving the skin, nipple, and areola in place.
The surgeon then immediately rebuilds the breast after removing the cancerous tissue. So far, the process, including the reconstruction, has had a 97 percent success rate. Not only is the new mastectomy less invasive, but allowing the patient to maintain the original shape of the breast instead of losing it in its entirety can help maintain self-esteem. Recovering from cancer is hard enough as it is – the lack of confidence caused by a change in appearance can also be quite difficult to overcome.
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