A woman requiring breast cancer surgery thirty years ago was faced with a daunting situation. The only option available to her was a radical mastectomy which removed the breast and some of the chest wall muscles.
Later, it was possible to perform a total mastectomy which removed the breast but spared the chest wall muscles. The situation has improved since then, with the advent of the segmental mastectomy, which removes the area around the tumor and leaves the rest of the breast in tact.
There is now a new alternative for breast cancer surgery in the form of the nipple and skin-sparing mastectomy. The breast goes but the skin remains, and so does the nipple. Should the woman decide to opt for reconstructive surgery later, she will look more like herself.
"Dr. Nabil Wasif, M.D., is a general surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, certified by the American Board of Surgery. He graduated from Aga Khan University Medical College in Pakistan and completed his residency in general surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell in New York. His interests include surgical oncology, general surgery, GI oncology, breast cancer, melanoma, and sarcomas."