Things You Need to Know About Preventative Double Mastectomies

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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.

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