Breast removal surgery
Expectations after surgery
The successful treatment of breast cancer and the likelihood of long-term survival for women with breast cancer depends critically on the stage of the disease when diagnosed.
Self-breast examination, regular clinical breast examinations by medical professionals, and annual screening with X-ray mammography are the main tools of early detection of breast cancer.
Of these three, screening mammography combined with clinical breast examination is the most effective detection method. In the United States, yearly screening mammography is recommended for women over the age of 40.
Detected in its earliest stages, appropriate treatment results in a ten-year survival rate of over 90%. New cases of breast cancer have been gradually increasing in recent years, and will likely continue to do so as the population ages.
However, the chance of dying from breast cancer has been steadily falling by about 1-2% a year. This improvement is due to early detection and newer treatments like hormonal therapy and better chemotherapy.
Breast reconstruction at the time of mastectomy or at a later date can help restore a normal appearance, and the techniques for achieving this have advanced greatly. The goal of reconstruction is to restore symmetry of the breasts when a woman is dressed. The difference between the reconstructed breast and the unaffected breast can be seen when the woman is nude. Reconstruction will not restore normal sensation.
Review Date: 06/07/2006
Reviewed By: J.A. Lee, M.D., Division of Surgery, UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.