Question: When is a mastectomy usually recommended?
Answer: All patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer are evaluated from the perspective of providing them the opportunity to save as much or all of their breast tissue whenever possible. However, in certain types of patients, or certain types of cancer, that's really not sensible.
Generally, what we think about is that patients who have large tumors in small breasts, multiple tumors in normal-sized breasts, or those who have MRI or mammogram findings that suggest that their tumor is distributed in a broad pattern throughout their breast, are those in whom we recommend mastectomy. Also, patients who have very strong family history of breast cancers and those who have been diagnosed as being carriers of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations are generally recommended for mastectomy in order to ensure that they have the best chance of good outcomes and long-term survival.