Double Mastectomy

gayleirene Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Monday, Dec. 1 -- I am seing the plastic surgeon on Wednesday Dec. 3 for the consultation about my pending mastectomy/reconstructive surgery. Several of my family members have suggested that I ask him about doing both breasts at the same time. Does anyone have any suggestions about this -- the ultrasound has shown a 3.3 cm lump in my left breast, but so far nothing in my right breast.

Gayle Rivera


  • hounddog
    hounddog Member Posts: 115
    It is up to you if you want both removed .I had a mastectomy 14 yrs ago and in February of this year. It is hard what we go through is called a storm .It is alright to be scared but trust in God.John 6:14-21. I have not had reconstruction and do not intend to .If people do not like the way we look with out breasts it is their problem .It is what is on the in side that counts not the out side. What is in our Hearts count not the way we look.
  • 24242
    24242 Member Posts: 1,398
    That was my reaction when I found out that the lump that I had found 7 months earlier had spread. Get rid of them both at the same time. My fear was that they wouldn't get me back for another round once it was time to do the second one. My mother is a nurse and has been most of my life. I never really listened to her but I did when she asked me not to both at the same time. She told me this is really traumatic on the body and to do the side with cancer first then do the other. I seemed to be sensative to everything done to me including the surgery. A very small, very small percentage of us are that way. I did as my surgeon and mother asked even though I knew it was what I truly wanted. After my second chemo I got a ragging staph infection that nearly killed me. I had no white cells at all and they couldn't get it under control. Those were the 8 worst days through my treatment period. I was very grateful I did one at a time and I did go back and have the other done, it didn't seem as bad after the first one. I knew what I wanted and got it in the end.
    Trauma is something we can avoid, but many woman do go on to have both and very successfully. I just find telling my story might just give someone something else to consider is all. I hope that in the end you choose what is best for yourself because that is what we need to be doing.
    Be good to yourself always,
  • SusanAnne
    SusanAnne Member Posts: 245
    Please do let me know what he/she advises. I already had my mastectomy but am considering having the other breast removed during reconstruction. Are you thinking of implants or TRAM? There are five doctors in my oncology group so I've been asking each for their opinion as I see them. So far they have been 3/3 not to do it. My surgeon also doesn't recommend it. Each case is different though. Good luck.
  • Snookums
    Snookums Member Posts: 148
    I had 2 less than 2 cm lumps in my left breast and no family history but I still opted for the double. For me it was the "wonder if and when" that overruled the "unnecessary surgery" thought. You can get your surgeon to fight the ins. co for both if that's what will be best for you. You are smart to be requesting opinions but don't forget to pray for God's guidence and He will bring you to the right answer for YOU. Blessings- C
  • DeeNY711
    DeeNY711 Member Posts: 476 Member
    I also opted for double mastectomy since I was told that half of the "unaffected" breast would be removed in order to create something that would match a prosthesis, implant or reconstruction. Surprise, surprise, post-op pathology found microscopic spots of lobular carcinoma scattered throughout the "unaffected breast." None of the cancer ever showed up at all on mammograms that were done every six months since June of 1999 along with clinical examinations; nor did it show on ultrasound.
  • cammie
    cammie Member Posts: 102
    It sounds like you are looking for peace of mind. Unfortunately whether you have one removed or both, that peace of mind never happens. You can still get cancer in the breast after it is removed. Lymph nodes and the lining. You still go through the breast checks etc. I wish sometimes that I did get a double, then other times I am glad I did not. It is such a personal choice, one that we will always second guess. Good luck to you. Cammie
  • wingingit
    wingingit Member Posts: 48
    I had a large tumor >5cm and dense fibrocystic breasts, which may have delayed my diagnosis. I felt a mastectomy was sort of a no-brainer in my situation, but was left wondering about the other breast. Although I have a family history, I tested negative for the BRCA1&2 gene mutations. After numerous diagnostic tests and 6 months of chemo, my team of doctors here at one of the major cancer centers did not seem to think a double mastectomy was necessary. Unfortunately, I did not have the option of immediate reconstruction due to opinions that I would need to have radiation. (A good pathology report from surgery later changed their minds!) I was disappointed that I was not able to have the skin-sparing mastectomy, but I feel the doctors here have had my best interest at heart and am confident that together we will remain vigilant in the future. And if/when cancer occurs in my other breast, I am hoping it will be detected at an earlier stage and only a lumpectomy will be sufficient, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it!

    Like others have mentioned, there are no guarantees no matter what action you take. But doing your homework and asking questions makes you feel so much more in control of this disease. Having gone through reconstruction, I just wanted to add that you should be realistic in your expectations of reconstruction. You will possibly have the advantage of skin-sparing mastectomies with either a single or double mastectomies. A double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction may also result in a more symmetrical outcome and like nipples and areola color. However, I have just completed the last step of my tram flap surgery, which also included follow-up revision surgeries to make my natural and reconstructed breasts more symmetrical, and also nipple reconstruction and areola tattooing. After 10 months, I have learned to be happy with an outcome of two similar breasts with full sensitivity in one--this I like! This is a great place to come for diverse opinions. I will be praying that you make a good and wise decision. Keep the faith . . . Kris
  • bicolana
    bicolana Member Posts: 3
    Dear Gayle,
    I'll tell you a short story of my life. Maybe, it will help you a little bit.

    A year ago, my breast doctor told me to get a biopsy on my left breast because of the calcifications that had increased. I did, and the result cameback negative. My doctor was still uncomfortable of the result, that she sent me to the surgeon for second opinion for lumpectomy. The surgeon felt that surgery was not necessary because the pathology report was benign. I argueed with him and I did not stop until he said ok and he would do it. I had a lumpectomy and the result of the biopsy this time was cancer. I was diagnosed of DCIS stage 1. Radiation was given to me of 33 treatments and I was put on Tamoxifen for five years. Though, I had treatments and on meds I was still having nightmares. The next time I saw my surgeon I mentioned to him about how I would like to have a mastectomy. He agreed right away. He said, he would never argue with me because the last time he did, it turned out I was right. In short, I had a bilateral simple mastectomy with immediate tram flap breast reconstruction. Before the surgery, I went to see two plastic surgeons for breast reconstruction. The first one said, it would be impossible to do a breast reconstruction on the left breast rightaway because of the radiation I had. The second plastic surgeon, told me it was possible to do it but the infection was the high risk. I took the risk because I did not want to go back for another surgery. I was in the OR for 13 hours and I was doing well the next day, when I had the internal bleeding on the third day. They took me back to OR and found some blood vessels oozing about 850 cc of blood. I had 4 units of blood transfusion and those blood vessels were repaired. I was in the ICU for 6 days unable to moved. I developed a secondary infection on my left breast as soon I was transferred from the ICU. Pus was removed from my left breast and that left me a hole in it. Nurses were cleaning it by irrigating and packing as ordered. I came home with seven JP's attached to me, a big hole on my left breast and lost a lot of weight during my stay at the hospital. My pathology report this time said that I had some Atypia on my right breast and it was good that was taken out or else, it would be the same as my left breast.

    When I went home, my husband was my nurse. He got up as early as 4:00 oclock AM to clean me up before going to work. The hole on my left breast become bigger and bigger. My plastic surgeon decided to sewed it up after they learned that I did not have bacteria growth. I was taken for another surgery. Now, I don't have anymore JP's, no more hole on my left breast and I gained some weight. After 3 months, I'm back to my normal life. They took me off on Tamoxifen, and I'm just only waiting for some procedures of my breast recontruction to look more symmetrical. I don't have any regrets, but if you'll ask me if I do it again...I don't know.

    I wish you all the luck in the world. Best wishes.