Mastectomies were chancy but not wholly uncommon. Modern doctors now credit the 18th century for the first successful procedures of delivering women from breast cancer. The credit is shared by the French doctor, Jean Louis Petit and the Scottish doctor, Benjamin Bell. Figuring out the connection between breast cancer and the lymph nodes in the armpits, both doctors removed the lymph nodes, breast tissue, and even breast muscles. Ouch!
While we still don't have a cure, I can imagine our contemporary treatments, however painful, are a vast improvement on a Petit or Bell mastectomy.
Visit TheBreastCancerSite.com to donate a free mammogram and buy some goodies to help support breast cancer research. Mary Astell would approve!