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Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy - what to choose?

Posted by on Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:25 PM
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hello ladies,

ok i've been trying to see if anyone has posted this subject before but i can't find it. So what do you ladies think - especially those who have already gone through it ???????

I'm 33, 2 kids (don't plan on having anymore), have invasive ductal carcinoma, at stage II and i need to tell my doctor asap what i'm choosing to due for my upcoming surgery. She was leaning more towards the Lumpectomy - but didn't actually say it- but i'm thinking of going with a  mastectomy.

Ladies i need your imput pllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssseeeeeeee.

Thank you.

by on Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:25 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Group Mod - Missi on Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Have you written down the pros and cons of each?  Who is your immediate support team?  What do they say?  Hugs


by Group Mod - Missi on Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:41 PM

I'm sorry for asking so many questions, I'm hoping to learn a little more about you.    : ) 

by Sister on Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:50 PM

This is all very new to me and my support team at this time is very small it's just my 2 sisters and they're telling me to get the mastectomy.

by Sister on Oct. 14, 2010 at 8:08 AM

all depends on how large the lump is, and if you want to risk it again!!  When I was diagnosed, I was told that I could do chemo and radiation to shrink the tumor, then have a lumpectomy (mine was larger, and growing fast), or have a masectomy.  due to my family's history of it, I went one step farther- I had a bilateral masectomy.  I didnt want to risk a recurrance.  What do you want?  what would you tell your sister's to do?  allow that to play into what you are going to do, but remember the end decision is yours!!

by New Sister on Oct. 14, 2010 at 8:33 AM

I was diagnosed with stage IIB breast cancer and opted for a bilateral mastectomy as a preventive measure.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions in my life.  When the pathology report came back after surgery, I had also developed invasive ductal carcinoma in the other breast.  It did not show up on the mammogram or ultrasound before surgery.  If I had not had the radical surgery as a preventive measure I would be dealing with a second cancer today.  It is important to understand that it is a personal decision and this was mine.  I prayed to God to guide me and lead me throughout and He did. 

by Sister on Oct. 14, 2010 at 9:15 AM

My doctors really didn't give me a choice they said the CURE was a mastectomy got a second opinion they only wanted to remove one breast both wanted reconstruction .  Wasn't hard for me to decide no radiation no chemo I had the double mastectomy!!!  I have never looked back, it was found in one  breast, and  after surgery they found it was already starting in the other.  I have implants because I am so thin couldn't do a transflap.  But 5 years later no regrets!!!!!  Some of my friends go through the fear of did they get it all, chemo works then it comes back again>  It's up to you but I had nursed my children I wanted to get rid of the cancer.!!!     Your decision but  I always suggest to get a second opinion from another doctor!!  God Bless

by Sister on Oct. 14, 2010 at 9:15 AM

I had Invasive ductal carcinoma as well as lobular infiltrating carcinoma and the two were so far apart from one another in the same breast that there was just no saving that breast.  But I would have to say that the best advice I got from my surgeon at the time was to not have the other breast removed. He said I could make that decision at a later time but that most women underestimate the loss of a breast and that I should live a while without the one and then decide later. He also pointed out that the research simply does not support the fears that cancer would return automatically to the other breast.  I had reconstruction with tissue expander and implant but the day I go the bandages off after my implant exchange I cried the whole way home. I don't know what I thought I was going to get. I most certainly did not get a new breast. I got a "shape" that, yes, makes me looknormal with clothees on. That was 15 months ago and I am still as sad today as I was that day.

When you have a mastectomy, all of the nerves are severed between the skin and the breast tissue removed so you no longer will have any feeling in that "breast".  I am numb fromm my collar bone to my rib cage and my sternum to under my arm. My plastic surgeon says that it will be this way the rest of my life. I have a tiny bit of peripheral feeling in the skinnear the sternum but that is all. Nobody ever told me this part so it came as quite a shock to me and you deserve to know all of these details before making your choice. Yes, there are other types of reconstruction available (I cannot speak to those as to if you regain any skin sensation)  but not all insurance companies will pay for anything other than an implant type. I have even heard of insurance companies or doctors denying access to prophylactic mastectomies too because they are not deemed medically necessary, so do your homework as well on what coverage you have. They remove the nipple. Even if you have one reconstructed you cannot  feel it and many women describe a hyper - painful type sensation to it. It has had a big impact on me sexually that I am very sad for. I thank God every day I listened to my surgeon.  He said they will follow my healthy breast so very carefully that even if I did develop cancer in it it would be caught earlier than this one was. I have an breast mri every 6 months opposite my diagnostic mammograms.  I have been clear 2 years now. You cannot discount the sexual side effects of losing a breast. If it is an important part of the puzzle for you, think about it.  For me it is my "catalyst", and I am very grateful I still have the one. I didn't have a choice. If I had a choice today, I would go lumpectomy in a heart beat. Not everybody feels this way as you can see. But you should get both sides of the coin before making your decision.

The Scar Project on You Tube shows some beautiful women who were very courageous to pose for a photo shoot after their surgeries, both reconstructed and not. As you can see,no two women will end up the same, so realize this as well. Likewise,no two women feel the same exact way about their decision in the end but this is one that if you opt lumpectomy now, you can always change your mind later if you find that living with any questions in the back of your mind is too much. Once a breast is removed,though, there is no turning back. You need also to really trust your doctor's treatment plan, etc.  But in the end it is your choice but it should really be an informed one both to the side effects and risks but make sure they are scientifically sound and not based on fear.I am not trying to stir up controversary here, only to lay out what "the other side" of the coin experienced.  I respect everyone's feelings and choices.

by New Sister on Oct. 14, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I think Koryn gave you the best info. It boils down to YOU.

by New Sister on Oct. 14, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Hello, I have just gone through what you are going through now.  I found out in the spring I had Ductal Carcinoma cancer but not invasive.  I did make the decision right away to do a lumpectomy, thinking it would be quick, easy and over with immediately. However, after my surgery and first check up, the doctor explained he did not get enough of a clean margin, which meant, he need to do another surgery to get atleast another 1/2 inch of tissue without cancer to be able to start radiation.  So I said, fine, lets get it over with, did the second surgery and ready to start the next step of radiation, but, my second checkup after the second surgery, the doctors comes in and shakes his head, and says, sorry but we didn't get it all, there is more cancer and you must have a  masectomy!!! OMG I was waiting for good news and not prepared for this at all!!! I hadn't even thought the doctor would come back again and tell me that!!! SOOOO I would definitely get a second opinion.  I am happy I went for a second opinion after the second surgery, I went to Mayo Clinic and they were awesome.  I had to have a masectomy in one breat and opted for the second breast to be removed as well.  I wasn't going to go through it twice and knew I wouldnt have to worry about it as much, and they would be easier to look symetrical if they were both reconstructed.  Get the second opinion, do what your heart tells you not what other people tell you.  the most important is to get cancer free!!!! :) Good luck and hope this helps. 

by on Oct. 14, 2010 at 11:08 AM

I am a breast cancer patient who did not have surgery and now have breast cancer spread to my blood stream...I think if I had the mastectomy I would not have this metastasis..can't say that for sure! Go with your gut and do what you feel is the best thing for you.I am here for support if you need.

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