Mastectomy is the surgical removal of the entire breast. Some women have the option of mastectomy or lumpectomy.

Types of Mastectomy

There are two general types of mastectomy: total (simple) and modified radical.

Total Mastectomy

Total mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast and the lining of the chest muscle, but no other tissue.

For some women, much of the skin of the breast may be left intact for breast reconstruction. In some cases, the nipple may also be left intact, called a nipple-sparing mastectomy.

Total mastectomy may be used to treat:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
  • Breast cancer recurrence
  • Invasive breast cancer

Modified radical mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast, the lining of the chest muscles and some of the lymph nodes in the underarm area.

Partial Mastectomy and Lumpectomy

Partial mastectomy and lumpectomy are breast-conserving operations where the surgeon removes the tumor together with some normal breast tissue surrounding it.

Women who have this surgery usually:

  • Have a single breast cancer tumor less than 5cm in diameter
  • Have enough tissue so that removing surrounding tissue would not leave a misshapen breast
  • Are medically able to undergo surgery and follow-up with radiation therapy