As a surgical procedure the radical mastectomy as primary treatment for breast cancer was the standard for decades. In retrospect this is somewhat surprising as we have witnessed rapid changes in the popularity, use, and efficacy of multiple surgical procedures across many surgical fields.
In formal doctor talk it is called the axilla. If you want to be pretentious you spell it the English way–axillae. Among friends it is call the armpit. Buried deep in this site are the skeletons of old theories about the behavior of breast cancer and the residue of now discredited operations.
Breast cancer, like all cancers, is characterized by the abnormal growth of specialized cells. The cells lose their specialized function in the breast. Normal mechanisms regulating the growth and maintenance of these differentiated cells are then lost to the evil intruder.
OCTOBER 19: CELEBRITIES UNLEASHED Hardly a month goes by without a celebrity or public figure informing us that they have breast cancer. Breast cancer is a common condition and celebrities and public figures are not immune. We have chronicled Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller already. Interestingly, another Republican First Lady developed it while her husband was in office. That would be Nancy Reagan. She survived it. Shirley Temple Black is credited with being the first celebrity with the disease. Little…
Slowly and painfully throughout the 1980s we came to believe that breast cancer could be treated without removing the breast and with no compromise in the likelihood of survival. Cancer care and cosmetic considerations could exist together, triumphantly.