Dr. Wasif recalls a memorable experience with a patient who chose to have a nipple-sparing mastectomy.
Let me share a story with you about a lady that we performed a nipple-sparing mastectomy upon and this was about, I would say, two months ago. A very pleasant, wonderful, 45-year-old who didn’t live in one of the major cities in Arizona so she was in one of the sort of out of the way places.
Unfortunately got breast cancer and went to see a local surgeon and was advised what we call a radical mastectomy, which is a pretty disfiguring operation and I think for most women, and especially someone who is in her 40s, psychologically a quite as disfiguring as it is physically.
She decided to get a second opinion because one of her friends said, “You are in Arizona; why don’t you go to the Mayo Clinic?” And we were obviously very happy to see her and she was very surprised that there was even an option of not only preserving her nipple but her breast.
So we went ahead and did the nipple-sparing mastectomy. Everything went great. She recovered very well, went back home and we saw her about three weeks later in follow-up, and I can tell you having seen her from her initial diagnosis and the anxiety and the depression that comes with the diagnosis of breast cancer, and then seeing her afterwards, she was a changed person.
I think psychologically for her to be able to wake up from surgery and not see that one of her breasts is missing, and then later on be able to go home and look at herself in the mirror and still see what looks like to her as her own breast was very, very encouraging for her, and she told us she was very happy that she decided to come here and she said she would recommend it to all her friends and of course we were happy that we were able to offer this to her at the Mayo Clinic.
This is why we do what we do. Sometimes, you know cancer is not great; it happens and if you can do anything in your power to make it easier for the patient to deal with, that makes your day and when you hear stories like that when people come back to us and say, “We’ve got something that we weren’t expecting,” and that’s the kind of stuff that as a physician makes your day.
About Dr. Nabil Wasif, M.D.:
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.