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Definition - What does mastectomy mean?

Mastectomy is the removal of the breast, which may also involve the removal of surrounding lymph nodes in some situations, by surgical means as a treatment for breast cancer. The scope of the mastectomy depends on the invasiveness of the cancer involved, and whether it has spread to the surrounding tissues.

SureHire explains mastectomy

A mastectomy is one of the most common treatments for breast cancer in addition to therapies such as chemotherapy. The five different types of mastectomies are simple, total, radical, modified radical, partial, and nipple-sparing. Simple and total mastectomies concentrate on the removal of the breast tissues, and involve the removal of the entire breast. Radical mastectomies entail the removal of the entire breast, the muscles underneath the breast, and the lymph nodes situated in the arm pit area. Modified radical mastectomies involve the removal of the entire breast and the lymph nodes in the arm pit area, but not the muscles underneath the breasts. Partial mastectomies involve the removal of the cancerous portion of the breast tissue and surrounding tissues. Nipple-sparing mastectomies entail the removal of all of the breast tissue, but without the removal of the nipple. Each type of mastectomy addresses specific medical concerns and types of cancers based on risks and expected outcomes.

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