Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women.
Public support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped improve the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer survival rates have increased, and the number of deaths has been declining, thanks to a number of factors such as earlier detection, new treatments and a better understanding of the disease.
Mastectomy is surgery to remove all breast tissue from a breast as a way to treat or prevent breast cancer. For those with early-stage breast cancer, mastectomy may be one treatment option. Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), in which only the tumor is removed from the breast, may be another option. Deciding between mastectomy and lumpectomy can be difficult. Both procedures are equally effective. But lumpectomy isn’t an option for everyone with breast cancer, and others prefer to undergo a mastectomy.
Newer mastectomy techniques can preserve breast skin and allow for a more natural breast appearance following the procedure. Surgery to restore shape to your breast — called breast reconstruction — may be done at the same time as your mastectomy or during a second operation at a later date.