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.
The National Cancer Act of 1971 is an important milestone in our effort to control and then eradicate breast cancer.
In the early days of my surgical training, potential breast cancer patients or patients with an uncertain finding would check into the hospital the night before surgery. They would spend the night in the hospital, have surgery in the morning, stay that night in the hospital and go home the next morning.
For the breast cancer patient today, the days of the stuffy, paternalistic doctor, the all knowing doctor in a starchy white coat, are over. The internet has changed everything….
Chemotherapy for breast cancer continues to be the six hundred pound gorilla in the room. I am sometimes amazed what patients will do to avoid it.
Can a quantum leap in knowledge and technical know how take place painstakingly and slowly over a half century?
In the world of breast cancer it would be hard to hightlight an organization or institution more responsible for the modern treatment of breast cancer than the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project (NSABP).
Everyone likes to joke about mammography. It is a pretty bizarre test–having your breasts compressed between two cold steel plates while being told to hold your breath. Pretty sexy, huh?
The Radical Mastectomy procedure is a brutal, disfiguring operation. It involves removing the breast and the large, underlying pectoral (chest) muscle. It leaves the patient with an exposed rib cage. Ghoulish. Jarring to look at.
Angelina Jolie brought attention to BRCA (BReastCAncer) testing as nobody else could. This is a test that detects susceptibility to breast cancer as an inherited event.