Mastectomy

Overview

When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you will have a lot of decisions to make. One of the most important decisions is whether or not to have a mastectomy. Mastectomy is a type of surgical procedure that involves the removal of one or both breasts. It is major surgery, and it is not an easy decision to make.

You will need to consider several factors when making this decision. The first is the stage of your cancer. If your cancer is in the early stages, you may have a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy.

A lumpectomy is less invasive and has a shorter recovery time, but it is not always an option depending on the size and location of your tumor.

The second factor to consider is your personal preferences. Some women feel that a mastectomy is the best option, while others prefer to keep their breasts. Again, there is no right or wrong answer; it is entirely up to you.

The third factor to consider is your risk of recurrence. If you have a higher risk of cancer coming back, you may want to opt for a mastectomy. However, this decision should be made in conjunction with your doctor, as they will be able to provide you with the best information regarding your case.

Once you have considered all of these factors, you will need to decide whether or not to have a mastectomy. If you decide to go ahead with the surgery, you will need to be prepared for the recovery process. 

Recovery from a mastectomy takes several weeks. In addition, you may experience some pain and discomfort during this time. Therefore, it is important to follow your doctor’s recovery instructions and take things easy.

After you have recovered from your surgery, you will need to decide how to move forward with your life. For example, you may opt to have reconstructive surgery to restore your breasts. Or, you may decide that you are happy with your new body and do not want to undergo any additional surgeries. 

Whatever decision you make, know that you are not alone and there is support available to help you through this difficult time.

Everything You Need To Know Mastectomy

Types of Mastectomy

There are several types of mastectomy, which your surgeon will discuss based on the individual characteristics of your cancer. However, the most common types of mastectomy are:

  • Total (simple) mastectomy. The entire breast is removed in this procedure, and all the lymph nodes are under the arm. However, the chest muscles are not usually removed.
  • Modified radical mastectomy. This is similar to a total mastectomy, but in addition to the breast and lymph nodes, some of the muscles under the breast are also removed.
  • Radical mastectomy. In this procedure, the entire breast, lymph nodes, and muscles under the breast are removed. This type of mastectomy is no longer commonly performed.

Your surgeon will also discuss with you the option of having a nipple-sparing mastectomy, in which the nipple and areola (the dark area around the nipple) are left in place. This type of mastectomy is usually only an option if the cancer is small and confined to the breast tissue.

After a mastectomy, you will likely need reconstruction surgery to rebuild the shape of your breast. Reconstruction can be done simultaneously as your mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or at a later date (delayed reconstruction). Your surgeon will discuss all the options suitable for you.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with mastectomy. These include bleeding, infection, and reactions to anesthesia.

Additionally, because lymph nodes are removed during mastectomy, there is a risk that the arm on the side of the mastectomy may swell (lymphedema).

If you have a radical mastectomy, there is also a risk of damage to the nerves controlling your shoulder and arm movement. This could result in weakness or numbness in these areas.

Cancer may develop in the scar tissue from a previous mastectomy (recurrent breast cancer) in rare cases. For this reason, it’s important to continue to see your doctor for follow-up appointments after treatment.

Recovery After Mastectomy

Most women stay in the hospital for one to three days after having a mastectomy. During this time, the doctors will monitor you for any complications. In addition, you may have drains placed under your skin to remove excess fluid and blood. These drains are usually removed before you leave the hospital.

You will also be prescribed pain medication to help with any discomfort. It’s essential to take only the amount of pain medication prescribed by your doctor and not to drink alcohol while taking it.

After you go home, you can feel tired for several weeks. So it’s important to get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activity. You should also avoid lifting anything heavy (greater than 10 pounds).

Most women can return to work four to six weeks after having a mastectomy. However, if your job involves heavy lifting, you may need to take more time off. It’s normal to have some swelling and bruising around the incision site.

The side effects subside within a few weeks. You may also have numbness in the area where the surgery was performed. This is usually temporary and will improve over time.

You will have to visit your doctor for follow-up appointments every four to six weeks for the first year after treatment.

After that, you will probably only need to be seen once a year for a mammogram and physical exam. After that, your doctor may recommend additional screenings, such as MRI or PET scans, if there is a concern that cancer has returned.

Let your doctor know if you develop any new symptoms or side effects immediately.

Living With Breast Cancer

A mastectomy can be a very emotional experience. It’s normal to feel sadness, anger, anxiety, and fear after treatment. Some women also feel a sense of loss or grief. All these mood swings and unusual feelings are all part of your healing process.

Although, it may take some time to adjust to your new body image. You may feel less feminine after having a mastectomy. Some women worry about how their partners will react to their changed appearance. It’s important to remember that your breasts do not define who you are.

There are many resources available to help you cope with breast cancer. In addition, talking with other women who have been through a mastectomy can always be helpful.

Dr. Jay Anam is one of the most experienced breast cancer surgeons in Mumbai, India. For more information on mastectomy, you can contact our doctor. We have an oncology team ready to assist you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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About Dr. Jay Rashmi Anam

Dr Jay Anam is one of the best surgical oncologists in India. With an expertise as a breast cancer surgeon, he believes in world class cancer care for all the patients.

Dr. Jay Anam focuses on Breast Oncology, and his scope of work includes:

Expertise
  • Breast Cancer surgeries, including Mastectomy, Breast Conservation Surgery, Aesthetic and Cosmetic Breast reconstruction–Oncoplasty to retain breast shape and size during the treatment of breast cancer.
  • Sentinel Node Biopsy to limit the extent of the node dissection in early breast cancers.
  • Sono-Guided and Wire- localized Breast Surgeries for screen-detected Breast Cancers.
  • Flap reconstructions for advanced Breast Cancers.
  • Aesthetic Breast Surgery for benign breast tumours.

Patient Treated By Dr. Jay Anam

People heavily rely on reviews from other patients when choosing a healthcare provider

Dr. Jay Anam is a warm, kind, sympathetic, and brilliant doctor who handles his patients with dignity and respect, in my opinion. He has an incredible talent for motivating his patients and inspiring them to give more than 100% confidence. "Ruma, enjoy this voyage and you will be OK!" he said, and I still remember his words. These words have struck a chord in my heart throughout my wellness voyage, and I am a warrior. Dr. Jay Anam comes across as a terrific friend, and he makes you feel at ease throughout the procedure as if you've known him for years. He is forthcoming and available 24/7 for any queries.

Ruma Chatterjee

Our Patients

I got operated in Nov 2021. The word cancer can be so daunting and brings loads of stress in a patient's life. But i was fortunate that I met the right surgeon - Dr Jay Anam, post meeting him was relaxed and knew I am in safe hands. He explained the surgery in minute detail and patiently answered all my queries. Post surgery outcome was also discussed and nothing was left to guessing. He was on time for the surgery and i have to admit that the cuts and scars are minimal and it was a very clean n neatly done job. Post surgery he was always available on phone for any issue I faced. Post surgery follow up visit was also handled professionally.

Priya Shah

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