Frequently Asked Questions on Mastectomy

What is a mastectomy?
Mastectomy is the medical term used for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely, usually in order to treat breast cancer.
What is the next course of action after a biopsy?
If the biopsy is positive then your oncologist will suggest surgery immediately. This would then be followed by radiation and chemotherapy as per the level of seriousness of the disease.
How does a doctor know the tumor is cancerous?
A biopsy can make a definite diagnosis. A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. A pathologist (a doctor who specializes in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease) analyzes the sample that was removed during the biopsy.

There are different types of biopsies:
  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy
  • Core needle biopsy
  • Vacuum-assisted biopsy
  • Image-guided biopsy
  • Surgical biopsy
  • Endoscopic biopsy
Can I lead a normal life after mastectomy?
Yes, you can lead a normal life after mastectomy and it is still possible to feel great and have a positive body image after such a procedure.
There are many key things that need to happen in order to starting improving life after a mastectomy. Many post mastectomy life-improving products such as bras, breast forms, enhancers, gowns, camisoles and swimwear not only help in restoring your physical style but they also help you heal from within by restoring confidence and boosting your self-esteem. They could make you feel whole again.
What you have undergone is not necessarily life-threatening. You have to learn to adjust with changes in your body.
When the oncologist says I need chemotherapy, what does he mean? And when will that be done?
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill the fast-growing malignant cells in your body. It usually starts after the surgical removal of the cancerous tumor in order to ensure that remaining cancer cells in the body are also killed.
The chemotherapy you are given will not necessarily be the same as given to another person because each case will require different drugs.
What is the difference between lumpectomy and mastectomy?
Lumpectomy is a type of breast-conserving surgery that removes only the breast lump and some normal tissues around it whereas a mastectomy involves removing all of the breast tissues, sometimes along with other nearby tissues.
Many women with early-stage cancers can choose between lumpectomy and mastectomy. In most cases, a woman's survival chances are about the same with either surgery.
How soon after my surgery can I wear a breast form?
After surgery, your surgeon will recommend the appropriate time for you to start wearing prosthesis. This will depend upon your medical condition, the post-operative healing process and the type of mastectomy that was performed.
Directly after surgery many women wear a post-surgical camisole that includes removable pockets to hold drain tubes and a fiber-filled breast form to give shape. This can be worn home from the hospital.
Do I need a breast form after reconstruction?
Some women experience a significant difference in size between breasts following reconstruction and will wear a partial breast form, to restore the natural balance and symmetry.
After breast-conserving surgery or reconstruction, a shaper or partial breast form can fit into a regular bra or a pocketed bra to balance uneven breasts, or to soften or contour implants.
What is breast reconstruction?
Breast reconstruction surgery rebuilds the breast mound so that it is about the same size and shape as it was before.