Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Can You Trust Your Mammogram?

Post-Surgery Neglect

Lumpectomy is just as effective as mastectomy only if it includes lymph node testing and a course of radiation treatments — generally five days a week for about six weeks. That's something your surgeon should make clear before you choose one procedure over the other.

The news: In 2003, only 71 percent of lumpectomy patients followed through with radiation, down from 79 percent in 1992, University of Minnesota epidemiologist Beth Virnig, Ph.D., reported last December. "A lot of women with serious breast cancer are not getting comprehensive treatment," she says.

Why it matters: If you don't undergo a full course of radiation, your chances of local recurrence within 10 years are as high as 30 percent, says Dr. Katz. (If you do, they drop to about 8 to 10 percent.)

What you should do: Talk with a radiation oncologist before surgery. Ask how long your treatment will last and what the side effects might be. For that matter, talk with all the specialists who may be involved in your postsurgical care. Women often feel panicked and pressured to start treatment immediately, but it's usually safe to wait two to three weeks.

Reticence on Reconstruction

If a lumpectomy isn't right for you, a mastectomy followed by reconstruction is an alternative — but you may have to bring up the subject.

The news: Only about one-quarter of surgeons regularly send patients for a plastic surgery consultation before they make their lumpectomy or mastectomy decision, researchers from the University of Michigan found in a 2007 study. Who's most likely to make that referral? Women surgeons — as well as those who treat a lot of breast cancer. Reconstruction can be done during the same surgery as the mastectomy, but it requires the general and plastic surgeons to share turf and mesh schedules, which may be inconvenient for them — even if it's good for you.

Why it matters: Both procedures will alter your appearance, but in different ways. This may seem like a minor worry when you're newly diagnosed and terrified, but it's likely to become important when you're well.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow