Mar 18, 2014 - 3:22 am
Hello everyone, this is my first time on this discussion board, but considering I have been going over this decision for a week, additional perspectives would be great right now.
I was diagnosed at 38 years old with TNBC 0/0 lymph nodes positive (good) but with BRCA1 gene mutation (bad). I found out I had cancer when I was pregnant and currently have a healthy 5 month old baby girl. Luckily I am a professor and have been on medical leave and I don't have to return to work until late August. My mother is willing to help me out with the baby either way. But I am sooooo torn. Part of me wants to have the lumpectomy/radiation for now and make sure this cancer is taken care of with no recurrences elsewhere in the body that I have to do deal with. I also am not ready for the extreme measure of cutting off my breasts and reconstruction and the recovery time it takes ( I would use my body tissue for reconstruction if I went the bilateral mastectomy route).
But the BRCA1 gene mutation is throwing a monkey wrench in everything. I would easily choose a lumpectomy with rads in a heartbeat if it wasn't for the bRCA1 gene mutation. With the mutation gene, my oncologist recommends double mastectomy because of the 50% chance cancer can come back in my lifetime since I am so young. But there is the 50% chance it won't come back. I don't mind the surveillance because my mind doesn't think it will come back again, but I don't want to take the chance since I have two children that I want to see grow up. I should have told my oncologist about a study I just read that showed survival rates among breast cancer survivors and their development of contralateral breast cancer depending on whether they had a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy. The thing is, there were fewer women who had bilateral mastectomies who developed breast cancer again, but some DID develop breast cancer again after 10-20 years of followup.
My husband is as torn as I am (he is a butt man) so all fat would come from post-pregnancy tummy.
Reading this board has helped me decide one thing. Since I am in Chicago I should take advantage of the great cancer centers here. I will get second opinions at Northwestern University and Univ of Chicago, and the Block Cancer Center. I'm currently at the UIC CAncer Center and they go by what the latest cancer research suggests.
Please share your stories and experiences with me.
Thank you in advance.