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Mastectomy - series

Normal anatomy

Breast cancer begins in the breast and may spread to the lymph nodes of the armpit (axilla). When a breast lump is found to contain cancer, and if the cancer has not spread beyond the nodes of the axilla to distant sites, it is often removed surgically. Radiation therapy may be used in addition to surgery. In certain cases of malignant lumps, lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy is as effective as a mastectomy (breast removal). Typically, lumpectomy does not require a breast reconstruction.



Review Date: 5/21/2012
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.
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