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Screening after bilateral mastectomy

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

After having bilateral mastectomy,do you still get any kind of annual breast screening?

I was told there would me no need for mammograms any more which is good.But i used to have breast MRI+Contrast scan and ultrasound when i got my mammo's. Does anyone who's had bilaterals, still get either MRI or ultrasound breast scans?

I hope im not coming across as being stupid here.I know that about 98% of breast tissue is gone,but it does leave that 2% that lurks where they couldnt get to it, ie, top of sternum, top of abdomen etc. Just wondered if ultrasound would keep any eye on these areas.

I was also told that any lumps would be palpable now as the pectoral muscle that you wouldnt normally be able to feel,is now directly below the skins surface and the remianing breast tissue will be in places where you can feel it anyway.

Thanks in advance =)

TawnyS
Posts: 144
Joined: Apr 2010

I was wondering the same thing. I'm glad you asked. I know we will find out the answer here. There are so many questions that arise with bc and you think....well, next time I'll ask the doctor...then you forget. I usually write the questions down. I am just beginning the reconstruction phase now that I have had my bilateral and chemo and I haven't made it to that question with the doc yet.

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

yes there are plenty of women that have had bilaterals so someone must be able to enlighten us! I think i will add this to my question list for tomorrow.Its just i feel bad if the PS is running late and then i start bombarding him with questions! Especially questions that i guess could wait.

i will prioritise my questions for tomorrow i think. Maybe its a QU i will have to ask my breast consultant instead of my breast SURGEON??? I get so confused.... lol

greyhoundluvr's picture
greyhoundluvr
Posts: 402
Joined: Apr 2010

This is one of the questions that I asked my oncologist before surgery when we were discussing options. She said that if I had the lumpectomy, it would be mammogram alternating with MRI every six months. If I opted to do the bilateral mastectomy (which I had already decided on because of my mother's history), follow-up would be by regular manual physical exams. She said the same thing, that any new tumors would be palpable because of the breast tissue that has been removed.

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

hmmm.... sounds like i'll just have to rely on self exams. I will ask as they can only say no i guess. I'd rather have the breast consultant check me over,even to do a manual exam,than have to rely on my own lack of expertise!

This was something that did bother me in making my decision for surgery.Going from having annual mammo,mri and ultrasound to having nothing. I have read of women still getting BC recurrence even after bilateral mastectomies. Whether this will be different for me cus i havn't actually HAD bc-it was preventative surgery?

greyhoundluvr's picture
greyhoundluvr
Posts: 402
Joined: Apr 2010

I was a little uncomfortable when my oncologist told me I would be monitored by manual exam also - I was figuring there had to be a way that they could put these puppies in an MRI machine:) I had a prophylactic on the right and my sister had a bilateral prophylactic when she was younger. My understanding from my oncologist and my surgeon is that even with the surgery, there is always a chance that we can get breast cancer and that if we have a history of cancer, we're going to be at higher risk for developing it somewhere else. They can't remove all of the breast cells and any of the little guys left behind can develop a cancer. I was told that having the mastectomy would not effect the possibility of recurrence in my left breast - I was trying to decrease the odds of getting a new primary tumor in my right. And the fewer breast cells I have, the fewer there are that can go crazy and do this again.

Quite honestly, I didn't know what to do but play the best odds I could get and for me, this seemed to be the best way to do that.

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

yeah i agree.The best odds were def to get rid. I just dont trust my own judgement on examining myself.I worry i may miss something. My breast surgeon did tell me about the cells that get left behind and it was a real 50/50 as to whether i keep my breasts and get the intense screening every 12 months,or remove the risk by about 98% but have to rely on self exam.....

Trouble was,my surgeon and breast consultant told me that even with regular screening things can be missed or if aggressive,can be spread by the time its found from one screening til the next. Thats why it took me almost 2 years to decide.

There's no going back now so no sense worrying too much about it i suppose.

Third_Generation's picture
Third_Generation
Posts: 121
Joined: Apr 2010

I think you had a great question and one I never even thought of... I had bilaterals in January 10. I am at least the 3rd generation of breast cancer on maternal side. I will do self exams though a cyst would show up fast with nothing between my skin and the bone- at least it looks that way lol
I had microcalcification like my aunt not cysts like mom so since the mammary glands are gone, I will be looking for cysts only.
Thank you for making me think beyond the box. Good luck with everything.

m-star's picture
m-star
Posts: 444
Joined: Apr 2010

hey, i'm the question master! lol I bet my surgeons and doc's dread my appointments cus they know i'll have a long list ready! =D

And El, i will enquire today when i get my 3rd expansion. (its on my list!)

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

I don't know the percentage, but, women that have mastectomy's can get bc again as they can never remove all of your breast tissue. I think there are a lot that don't realize that, but, if you look at the recurrence's on this board, many had the mastectomy's. Self exam is very important, as you know your body better than anyone. Good luck.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

I always thought that you would still have an ultrasound or MRI with a mastectomy, since you do still have breast tissue left.

ms_independent's picture
ms_independent
Posts: 216
Joined: Nov 2009

My breast surgeon said she would see me every 6 months instead of mammograms etc.

El

lizzie17
Posts: 536
Joined: Nov 2009

I have had a couple of body PET/CT scans with radioactive contrast, the cancer antigen markers blood work. Also, one ultrasound for under my arm due to suspicious swelling in my lymphodema. I wonder also how they will keep track of that possible rogue cell.

lizzie17
Posts: 536
Joined: Nov 2009

I have had a couple of body PET/CT scans with radioactive contrast, the cancer antigen markers blood work. Also, one ultrasound for under my arm due to suspicious swelling in my lymphodema. I wonder also how they will keep track of that possible rogue cell.

lizzie17
Posts: 536
Joined: Nov 2009

I have had a couple of body PET/CT scans with radioactive contrast, the cancer antigen markers blood work. Also, one ultrasound for under my arm due to suspicious swelling in my lymphodema. I wonder also how they will keep track of that possible rogue cell.

lizzie17
Posts: 536
Joined: Nov 2009

I have had a couple of body PET/CT scans with radioactive contrast, the cancer antigen markers blood work. Also, one ultrasound for under my arm due to suspicious swelling in my lymphodema. I wonder also how they will keep track of that possible rogue cell.

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