Removal of breast tissue to prevent or treat breast cancer. 'Unilateral mastectomy' is the surgical removal of one breast. 'Bilateral mastectomy' is the removal of both breasts. 'Prophylactic mastectomy' refers to the removal of healthy breast(s) to reduce a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy is the most effective means of reducing a woman's risk; however, the benefits of such surgery depend on each woman's individual risk.
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