Purpose of This Summary
This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of breast cancer and pregnancy. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions.
Reviewers and Updates
This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Adult Treatment...
Besides removing the breast, radical mastectomy is a rarely performed surgery that also takes out lymph nodes in the arm pit and part of the chest wall. See a drawing of the area covered and read a short description.
During a modified radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes the breast (including the skin, breast tissue, areola, and nipple) and most of the lymph nodes under the arm. This surgery is now more commonly performed than the radical mastectomy as it has proven to be more effective and less disfiguring. Learn more about how this surgery is performed.