If you are a woman, you must read this one! For those who have ignored it and were not vehement about knowing it, breast cancer is the MOST COMMON CANCER in women all over India and it accounts for 25% to 31% of all cancers in women in Indian cities. We are witnessing an AGE SHIFT and the average age of developing breast cancer has shifted from 50-70 years to 30-50 years; and cancers in the young tend to be more aggressive. By reading about it and staying aware about it you may prevent it from attracting towards you, so please stop that apprehension and start understanding the disease because consciousness and discernment of this disease is half the war already won. Talking about the surgeries, which most women with breast cancer undergo, options for this include breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy. They can be reconstructed at the same time as surgery or later on. Surgery is also used to check the lymph nodes under the arm for cancer spread. Breast-conserving surgery is sometimes called partial mastectomy as it only removes a part of the affected breast, but how much is removed depends on the size and location of the tumor and other factors. If radiation therapy is to be given after surgery, small metallic clips may be placed inside the breast during surgery to mark the area for the radiation treatments. This surgery may be performed either in the form of Lumpectomy or Quadrantectomy. Lumpectomy removes only the breast lump and a surrounding margin of normal tissue and radiation therapy is usually given after it. Whereas, Quadrantectomy removes more breast tissues than Lumpectomy as one-quarter of the breast is removed. The other surgery for breast cancer patients is Mastectomy. In this, the surgery is performed to remove the entire breast of the patient and all of the breast tissues are removed, sometimes along with the other tissues nearby. Mastectomy can be performed under several procedures. Simple mastectomy, also called total mastectomy, involves the removal of entire breast, including the nipple, but does not remove underarm lymph nodes or muscle tissues from beneath the breast. Skin-sparing mastectomy is considered when immediate reconstruction of breasts is demanded by women. In this procedure, most of the skin over the breast is left intact but the amount of breast tissues removed is the same as with a simple mastectomy. Coming to the most extensive procedure of breast surgeries, Radical mastectomy, the surgeon removes the entire breast, axillary lymph nodes and the pectoral [chest wall] muscles under the breast. This surgery was once very common, but less extensive surgery [modified radical mastectomy] has been found to be as effective. This meant that the disfigurement and the side-effects of a radical mastectomy were not needed, so this surgery is rarely done now. This operation may still be done for large tumors that are growing into the chest muscles under the breast. After having a mastectomy (or some breast-conserving surgeries), a woman might want to consider having the breast mound rebuilt; this is called breast reconstruction. These procedures are done to restore the breast’s appearance after surgery. If you are thinking about having reconstructive surgery, it is a good idea to talk about it with your surgeon and a plastic surgeon experienced in breast reconstruction before your cancer surgery. This will allow you to consider all reconstruction options. This was just an effort from my side to spread the cognizance of breast cancer and the surgeries performed for its cure. Consult your doctors today for the prevention’s and cures of the disease and make sure you consult the pundits only, because In India, many non-oncology medical professionals (General Surgeons, Gynecologists etc.) tend to treat breast cancer themselves, there are a lot of incorrect decisions, unwanted investigations, and inadequate surgeries, and this directly affects the outcome and longevity of the patient. ———— About the Author: This article is contributed by Atima Dhall, our intern. Atima is an under-graduate from Shyama Prasad Mukherjee college, Delhi University. She aims to conquer the world with her writing and sights at instigating people to differentiate between black and white,i.e. justice and bigotry. With immense optimism and buoyancy, she scrutinizes her society and intends to work for its betterment through her writing.