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A mastectomy is a surgical procedure where the breast and underlying breast tissue are surgically removed. It is performed either to treat or, in some cases, to prevent the development of breast cancer. However, the operation is becoming less common as studies show that for patients who do have breast tumors, removing the tumor alone (a lumpectomy) together with Radiation therapy and chemotherapy has a similar survival rate to a full mastectomy.
In It's a Wonderful Lie, the patient developed breast cancer from misplaced fetal breast tissues despite a preventative double mastectomy due to her family history of the disease.