What is Mastectomy? Understand the Benefits and Risks Of This Surgery

What is Mastectomy

If the doctor recommends breast cancer removal as the only option, you must read the risks along with the benefits.  According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 12 women are likely to develop breast cancer as it is one of the most common forms of cancer in women. This health condition can affect anyone regardless of gender, but the incidence of breast cancer in men is much lower than in women. Those assessed as having a high risk of breast cancer may choose mastectomy, a surgical procedure that partially or completely removes one or both breasts. But is mastectomy safe? Are there any risks of mastectomy? Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Nanda Rajneesh, General Laparoscopic Surgeon at Apollo Spectra Hospital Koramangala Bangalore to know all the details about mastectomy. Read this article to help breast cancer patients understand more about this surgery and make the right decision.

Is Mastectomy Safe?

According to experts, mastectomy has been shown to reduce the chance of cancer recurrence by 1% to 3%. A few of the early warning signs of breast cancer that can be kept in check are a lump or swelling in the breast, change in breast size and shape, pain in a specific area, redness, or flaky skin in the breast, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, and nipple discharge. Apart from the above-mentioned abnormalities, if any other unpleasant symptom is noticed then consultation with a medical practitioner is recommended

Types of Mastectomy

  • Total – Also referred to as simple mastectomy, this surgery removes the entire breast but leaves the lymph nodes and muscles.

Mentioned below are some of the risks and benefits associated with mastectomy, which can help a person understand easily.

Benefits of mastectomy

  • Avoid radiation therapy – Patients who choose a mastectomy may be able to avoid the need for radiation therapy. This allows women to avoid skin changes and other side effects that radiation can induce in their bodies.
  • Avoid regular mammograms – After a mastectomy, patients no longer need regular mammograms.
  • Live Longer – helps increase the chances of long-term survival as studies have shown that patients with the surgical procedure have a lower chance of local recurrence.

Risks of mastectomy

  • Increased risk of infection – Failure to take proper care after surgery increases the chance of infection. It is important to notice the early warning signs of infection and consult a physician to avoid further complications.
  • Scar tissue formation – The risk of scar tissue formation can be painful for the patient. Scar tissue can be lumpy in shape and build up over time. Consultation with a specialist can help manage the discomfort associated with it.
  • Collecting fluid – Sometimes patients may experience a hematoma or seroma. Hematoma refers to the collection of blood under the scar while seroma refers to the collection of clear fluid under the scar. Usually, it resolves on its own or after being drained by a specialist with a needle.

Women who undergo mastectomy may face challenges in accepting the body changes, but it is always recommended to consult a medical expert to discuss options and alternatives, review family and medical history, and understand the procedure.

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