Things You Need to Know About Preventative Double Mastectomies


What is a Double Mastectomy?

Breast cancer can develop in the glandular tissue of your breast, specifically in the milk ducts and the milk lobules which are found in all parts of the breast tissue. Breast tissue covers your collarbone to your lower rib, and from the center of your chest to around the side and under your arm.

A mastectomy procedure removes breast tissue from right under the skin down to your chest wall and around the sides of your chest. Preventive mastectomy may be done in hopes of reducing the risk of getting cancer. Women who at very high risk of getting breast cancer have the option to have both breasts surgically removed, which is called a double mastectomy. The goal of the surgery is to remove all the breast tissue that could develop breast cancer.

Preventative double mastectomy may also be done for someone who has already had breast cancer and has an increased risk of getting cancer again in either breast. The surgery may reduce the risk of breast cancer up to 100% if there is a strong family history of breast cancer or a BRCA genetic mutation. However, risk reduction results can vary significantly. It is believed that about 10% of women will develop breast cancer, even though their breast tissue has been removed.

Did you know...

  • Do you know what the strongest muscle in your body is? No, it’s not your biceps or your thighs. It’s actually in your head. The masseter is a muscle in the jaw that is used when chewing. When all of the muscles of the jaw work together, they can exert a force as strong as 200 pounds on the molars. That’s some serious pressure.
  • Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!
  • A hearty laugh is good for the heart. Laughing can increase blood flow by 20%. Additionally, looking on the bright side can help you live longer. Studies have shown that a more optimistic outlook is linked to a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk for coronary artery disease.
  • Need a quick cool down? Try drinking some hot liquid. It's true! As counterintuitive as it may seem, the heat from hot liquids will raise your body temperature. This will heat you up and cause you to sweat. The increased perspiration will wind up helping you feel cooler as it evaporates. Try it out!
  • Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.