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Prophylactic Mastectomy

The most common reason for having a mastectomy is to treat a breast cancer. This is called a ‘therapeutic’ mastectomy. You can read about the different types of mastectomies here.

A ‘prophylactic’ or ‘risk reducing’ mastectomy is the removal of a ‘normal’ breast. If done at the same time as treatment of a breast cancer on the other side, it is called a “contralateral prophylactic mastectomy”. Some women decide to have a prophylactic mastectomy as part of their breast reconstruction for breast cancer on the non-affected side.

Reasons that a woman may consider a prophylactic mastectomy include:

  • having a known gene mutation that increases the risk of breast cancer (e.g. BRCA1 or BRCA2)
  • a very strong family history despite no proven gene mutation
  • other known histological risk factors (LCIS, for example)
  • symmetry/reconstructive issues after a mastectomy on one side (e.g. very large breasts, want to avoid reconstruction and want to maintain symmetry)
  • impediments to long term surveillance

The decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy can be very complex. Dr Lancashire will happily guide you through your options if it is appropriate for you.

Follow the following links below for more on breast cancer management:

Breast conserving surgery


Axillary surgery

Oncoplastic breast surgery

Breast Reconstruction

Endocrine Therapy


Using the internet