Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, knows her breast cancer is not going away.
Edwards' breast cancer, first diagnosed in 2004, has recurred. It's in her bones, and, as Edwards writes in her new memoir, Resilience, "it wasn’t leaving. Not ever."
That knowledge -- that she will one day die from breast cancer or die with it -- is at the heart of some hard-won lessons about dealing with breast cancer -- and getting aggressive about its early detection...
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.