What is a Mastectomy? in Body

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A mastectomy is a breast removing surgery which helps prevent breast cancer, find out more.

So, what is a mastectomy?

According to NHS Choices, a mastectomy is an operation which removes a breast and is used to treat breast cancer mostly in women, but men can also have the surgery too. 

It is also – as the case of Angelina Jolie has proved – used as a way to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer.

There are several types of mastectomy, which depends on a number of factors. The operation sees the breast tissue removed.

After the breast is removed the patient can choose to have a breast reconstruction, which replaces the breast that has been removed.

Some women choose to get tattoos after their mastectomy, either to add nipple to give their breasts a more realistic look, or have intricate designs across their chest. 

NHS Choices describes the operation as a safe procedure with minimal complications.

Free testing in the UK

According to BBC News, the NHS provides free testing to anyone who could be at a high risk due to a family history of the disease. One in 500 people carry a gene which puts them at a high risk of developing breast cancer. Anyone worried about the risk of breast cancer should talk it through with their doctor.

By revealing her decision to have a double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie hopes that more women will seek out information on Breast Cancer and visit their doctor if they are worried about their family history.

Angelina Jolie wrote about her medical choice in the New York Times, and stated:

I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is where cancerous cells grow in your breasts. It's the most common cancer for women but mainly occurs in those over 40.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund, The UK has the 11th highest rate of breast cancer in the world with 89.1 women out of 100,000 getting the disease.

Although it is rare for young women to develop breast cancer, many younger women have started having mastectomy surgery, especially those at a high risk through family history..

Where can I find more information & help? 

Breast Cancer Care- Call Breast Cancer Care's helpline if you are worried. Phone 0808 800 6000 or use the textphone 0808 800 6001 (both: Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm, Sat 9am - 2pm).

Cancer Support Scotland - Cancer Support Scotland aims to encourage and help young people affected by cancer to continue with normal family, social, student, and working life by providing support and recreation. Phone 0141 211 0122 or emailinfo@cancersupportscotland.org.

Clic Sargent- They help sick children and young people, and their families with cancer and leukemia. You can call their main office on 0300 330 0803 or emailinfo@clicsarent.org.uk for more information about how they can support you. 

Teenage Cancer Trust- This organisation works to support young people who have cancer and their families. They also raise awareness about teenage cancer through fundraising, education and research.