Dr. Gunn is a trusted Surgeon in Mastectomy, the surgical removal of the entire breast. It is a treatment option for all women with breast cancer.

Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy

It is important to understand both of these complex procedures so that you can make the right decision for your specific needs. Deciding between a mastectomy and lumpectomy can be incredibly difficult. It is also important to remember that a lumpectomy isn’t an option for everyone with breast cancer.

Mastectomy Overview

A mastectomy is used to remove all breast tissue if you have breast cancer or are at very high risk of developing it. You may have a mastectomy to remove one breast (unilateral mastectomy) or both breasts (bilateral mastectomy).

A mastectomy may be a treatment option for many types of breast cancer, including:

• Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or noninvasive breast cancer
• Stages I and II (early-stage) breast cancer
• Stage III (locally advanced) breast cancer — after chemotherapy
• Inflammatory breast cancer — after chemotherapy
• Paget’s disease of the breast
• Locally recurrent breast cancer

Conversations with Dr. Gunn

Dr. Gunn may recommend a mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy if:

• You have two or more tumors in separate areas of the breast.
• You have widespread or malignant-appearing calcium deposits (microcalcifications) throughout the breast that have been determined to be cancer after a breast biopsy.
• You’ve previously had radiation treatment to the breast region and the breast cancer has recurred in the breast.
• You’re pregnant and radiation creates an unacceptable risk to your unborn child.
• You’ve had a lumpectomy, but cancer is still present at the edges (margin) of the operated area and there is concern about cancer extending to elsewhere in the breast.
• You carry a gene mutation that gives you a high risk of developing a second cancer in your breast.
• You have a large tumor relative to the overall size of your breast. You may not have enough healthy tissue left after a lumpectomy to achieve an acceptable cosmetic result.
• You have a connective tissue disease, such as scleroderma or lupus, and may not tolerate the side effects of radiation to the skin.

You might also consider a mastectomy if you don’t have breast cancer, but have a very high risk of developing the disease. A preventive (prophylactic) or risk-reducing mastectomy involves removing both of your breasts and significantly reduces your risk of developing breast cancer in the future.

A prophylactic mastectomy is usually reserved for those with a very high risk of breast cancer, which is determined by a strong family history of breast cancer or the presence of certain genetic mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer. Click here for more information regarding mastectomies.