My grandmother has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She has had a biopsy and discovered she must have further treatment. Her choices are either a mastectomy (with removal of the lymph nodes) or a lumpectomy and radiation. My grandmother is 80 years old and in very good health. She is leaning towards the mastectomy, but is weary of the recovery from such a surgery. What is involved in the recovery from a mastectomy and how difficult is it?
Dear Twanda: The decision between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy is usually a personal one. A mastectomy is still considered a major surgery but recovery is often very tolerable, even for those who are up in years. Her doctor could enlighten you on his/her specific protocol for recovery. In my experience, many older women have opted for mastectomy over lumpectomy. Their rationale is that they do not feel they
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