New Here - Q's about BC surgery

Adhara_88
Adhara_88 Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hello Everyone :)

Quick introduction here. I'm 39, and was diagnosed with breast cancer (right breast) on January 30, 2009. I found the tumor myself December 30, and screening mammograms MISSED IT COMPLETELY. I have a 2 cm x 1.4 cm invasive ductal carcinoma (grade III) ATTACHED TO a papillary adenocarcinoma in the same location, and both tumors are estrogen receptor NEGATIVE. As yet, stage unknown, progestrone receptor, Her-2, p53 status unknown (until surgery), and BRCA1/2 status also unknown. ""

I met with my breast surgeon this week at a nearby specialty breast cancer center, who seems to be a BIG proponent of lumpectomy with radiation. Before I met with my breast surgeon I was, and still am, leaning toward skin-sparing mastectomy (SSM), bilateral, with reconstruction. I'm a no-nonsense sort of person and just want to get this dealt with. I requested a referral to a plastic surgeon (at the same hospital) to discuss reconstruction options and am still waiting for that appointment.

After I met with the BC surgeon, he sent me to radiology to have my mammograms and ultrasounds repeated (I'm transferring to this center from my local hospital, and their films were deemed of 'poor quality'...that's encouraging). The new hospital found two new 'highly suspicious areas of concern' in my opposite (left) breast on tuesday. I have not met with the surgeon again since that was found.

Especially in light of the new findings, I'm still leaning heavily toward SSM, but I feel a bit bad though because my breast surgeon kept steering me toward lumpectomy and radiation all through our meeting (before the new findings), and although he felt my approach was 'valid', he still felt that we could just do the lumpectomy and radiation, and manage the new recurrences of cancer down the road as they come up! Sorry, but I was completely flabbergasted. Why would I want to do that? I still consider myself young, and my husband and I have been trying for a child for the last 6 years (that's obviously on hold), and should that happen in the near future, why would I not want to do everything I can to minimize this coming back? Am I crazy? Is mastectomy really considered to be so drastic these days? I asked for BRCA testing to further evaluate my future risk (I have no sibs, or children, and my mother does NOT have BC, but my maternal grandmother DID have BC. Also, my father was adopted, so missing half my family medical history there, and BRCA genes CAN be inherited through the paternal line) and the Dr. squirmed and tried to convince me NOT to bother testing because I have 'no risk'! Excuse me? He's basing that purely on my mother being BC free! My family tree is so small, how can he possibly say that?! What if I have lumpectomy, and it did turn out I was BRCA 1 and/or 2 positive!? I'm now almost scared to be too conservative, because he can't be bothered to test! I feel like I have a right to test (yes my insurance WILL cover the test). I don't usually 'expect' the worst, I just find it difficult making this sort of decision without all the facts in-hand so to speak. If I knew I was BRCA negative, I MIGHT be more inclined toward lumpectomy.

I have tried looking through some medical literature, and found a paper published in 2006 that seems to support my train of thought in regards to mastectomy...

"...a MINORITY of breast cancer patients are younger than 40 years (6.5%)...they potentially have a long lifespan. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid local recurrences"..."The following factors have a positive impact on local (cancer) control: mastectomy (instead of BCT (Breast Conserving Therapy), negative surgical margins and adjuvant treatment (radiotherapy and chemotherapy)".

Has anyone else done skin-sparing mastectomy here who had the option of lumpectomy and radiation? Do you regret that choice? Were your surgeons supportive of your decision, or did you have kick and scream like I seem to be doing right now?

I have a wonderfully supportive husband who is rather overwhelmed at the moment coping with a recent miscarriage, a wife with breast cancer, and the realization that fatherhood may be shelved permanently (though we do have an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility clinic tomorrow morning), and he will support me regardless of my decision for surgery, but he's confused now because the Dr. pushed so hard for lumpectomy during our visit. I just feel like my DOCTOR is the one who doubts my decision. For me, I feel that the least I can do, both for myself, and my husband, is everything possible to only have to go through this, ONCE. I know it's not a guarantee, but I honestly think I'd feel better knowing I tried my hardest to prevent it coming back.

Comments

  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Welcome
    Welcome Adhara, but so sorry you are going through this. I feel I can offer some of my own experience here. I am also under 40 (34) and had to choose between mastectomy and lumpectomy with radiation. I choose the lumpectomy with radiation and have started chemotherapy. I had surgery in November to remove the lump. Clean margins, no node involvement. I think it is a personal choice and like your doctor said, either is valid. If you feel very strongly about mastectomy I don't think the doctor should talk you out of it. However, maybe she wanted you to think about it and make a decision after you've heard what she has to say. I think that's the doctor's job. But once you've made an informed decision, it's you body and your choice.

    As far as genetic testing goes, absolutely do it, in my opinion. I also have a grandmother with breast cancer, but my mother does not have it. I also have very few women in my family. My doctor urged me to do testing because it would be important in the mastectomy/lumpectomy decision and also important in terms of monitoring the ovaries -- very important for you since you want children. I ended up BRAC 1&2 negative and mostly likely you will be, too. But absolutely get the testing done.

    Make sure to also figure our your receptor status for certain. Whether you are ER, PR and HER/nue positive or negative will determine some of your treatment as I'm sure you know. There is a lot of information out there for younger women with breast cancer, as we have some unique issues like fertility, receptor negativity, etc. to consider. Have you been on young survival.org? It is a site for women under 40 and there an absolute WEALTH of information there for us. You can get an answer from some very knowlegable women in seconds. Please PM me if you want more information.

    Good luck, Adhara. Arm yourself with information and post here for tons of support.

    Mimi
  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    Welcome!
    Welcome to the discussion board! Cancer is a rotten way for us to meet, but at least know you don't have to go through all of this alone. The folks at this board are very experienced and very supportive.

    Considering all the stuff life is throwing at you right now you sound pretty together. Most surgeons that are at all up on state of the art treatment do push for breast conservation with patients that can handle it. Not all that many years ago, taking off as much tissue as possible was the "in" thing. Folks in Europe did some research and found that more didn't extend life a bit. In fact, lumpectomy plus radiation had a slight statistical advantage over mastectomy alone, though it doesn't approach actual significance. American surgeons were slow to come on board. Even today, older surgeons sometimes push for more surgery than necessary. Sometimes they won't even give patients (especially older ones) the option of breast conservation.

    But that doesn't mean that mastectomy is a poor choice for you. If you have cancer in more than one area, conservation may not end up looking okay cosmetically. If you aren't going to sleep at night worrying that primary breast cancer may be likely to reoccur any day, conservation may not be your preferred choice. Mastectomy might do away with the need for radiation though sometimes these days it is followed by radiation treatment too. That depends on how close the tumors are to your lymph nodes and also if any of them turned out to be positive. Don't freak about radiation treatment. It may not be a walk in the park, but it is not all that bad either. You do have to make time for it and the last week or two of treatments you may be more tired than usual and/or feel like your chest has a bit of sunburn, but that's not exactly a near death experience. Modern radiation is a lot more accurate than it was even 8 years ago, so side effects are a lot less than they were even a few years ago. For example, my dad had to do radiation for prostrate cancer two years ago Monday through Friday for 7 weeks. As a white blonde he figured he'd be fried to a crisp. The therapists were taking bets on what day he'd start developing problems. In the end he won and they all lost! He made it all the way to the end without missing a single golf game or developing as much as a blister. He did give in and rent a golf cart the last two weeks and occasionally take an afternoon nap. Having a mastectomy might be you can skip radiation and start chemo sooner, which could be an advantage for some people. Some folks have chemo BEFORE surgery and then more afterward. Some just do it afterward. Others have other options that eliminate the need for chemo. You will have to discuss what is best for you with your oncologist.

    It crosses my mind that you might benefit from talking to your oncologist now if you are considering genetic testing. Surgeons are experts in surgery. Oncologists are experts in cancer treatment. Genetic testing is something they may know more about. You are young for having breast cancer and you do have one direct family member that also had breast cancer. Mind you, breast cancer is so common that it often happens in older women, but you did not say when she developed her cancer. Even if you do carry a genetic risk, understand that doesn't mean that you definately will develop more breast cancer or any other problem. But if you do have a risk factor, the doctor will be able to watch for associated cancers and suggest ways to minimize your risks. It's kind of like knowing if you have diabetes you should keep a close watch on your circulatory system and your eyes. If I was facing surgery and knew that I had a relative who had had breast cancer, I would want to know in advance if I should do a bilateral with reconstruction or just treat the one breast. If I were at risk, I'd go with more surgery. If not, I'd forego all that mess and do as little as I could safely get away with.

    My history: infilterating ductal carcinoma in two different spots in one tiny breast. Conservation was not cosmetically acceptable and mastectomy was recommended. I ended up with a simple mastectomy and a sentinel node biopsy, nodes were negative. (Get the sentinel node biopsy if at all possible. It prevents arm problems down the line and is useful if the cancer has not set up camp outside the breast in the nodes yet. Most breast clinics offer it automatically, but you should check.) I had to fight my surgeon to allow me to skip the reconstruction. I just plain didn't want it. I actually had to get in his face. I would fight tooth and nail for any woman to have the option of reconstruction if she wanted it. And I would fight just as hard for my right to not have it. Choice means we get to pick. We can't choose whether or not we get cancer. I think we ought to have a choice on how we treat it.

    So choose what you want. Read all you can, ask questions here, find some survivors and hear their stories, go to the Susan Love website and see what all the surgical options look like, and in the end, choose what helps you sleep the best. It should be your choice. Iure you will make the right one for you.

    C. Abbott
  • EveningStar2
    EveningStar2 Member Posts: 491 Member
    Opinions

    Welcome to the madhouse, sorry that you are here. If the mastectomy is what you think is best for you, get a second and maybe third opinion. Not just shopping for what you want but also hearing why one and not the other. Medicine is not an exact science and you may "click" with one surgeon. But you may hear things that either strengthen your opinion or make you think things over yet again.

    In my case, I was referred to a general surgery group and the referring group was a little put out when I said that I might be getting my own surgeon, which I did. The decision is mine and I want to trust whoever has the knife when I am unconscious.

    Maureen
  • Adhara_88
    Adhara_88 Member Posts: 2

    Opinions

    Welcome to the madhouse, sorry that you are here. If the mastectomy is what you think is best for you, get a second and maybe third opinion. Not just shopping for what you want but also hearing why one and not the other. Medicine is not an exact science and you may "click" with one surgeon. But you may hear things that either strengthen your opinion or make you think things over yet again.

    In my case, I was referred to a general surgery group and the referring group was a little put out when I said that I might be getting my own surgeon, which I did. The decision is mine and I want to trust whoever has the knife when I am unconscious.

    Maureen

    Thanks :)
    Wow Ladies, thank you! :)

    I suppose I'm little 'old school' in my thinking...but I have also read a number of abstracts and papers lately (I have a little background in the medical field), and it's clear to me that not all BC is created equal. A number of papers suggest that young women, still of reproductive age, tend more toward 1)positive BRCA status, 2) higher incidence of recurrence, and 3) higher likelihood of receptor negative negative cancers (that don't respond to the hormone prevention therapies), as I can tell Mimi is well aware of. Of course, for me at the moment, all three are up in the air (except for the ER receptor).

    Unfortunately, the way this center manages cancer patients, you don't get to meet the oncologist until AFTER your surgery...seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse to me. I suppose because I'm not much of a gambler, I tend more toward adopting the 'if in doubt cut it out' approach.

    For those of you that opted for lumpectomy + RT, stupid questions, but was the result cosmetically sufficent and comfortable, and is it a pain to get bras to fit? TMI probably, but I'm 34DD, and the surgeon said that for lumpectomy he'd take a 7-8cm segment of tissue from the right side for the palpable tumor (not sure yet what will happen with the new lesions on the left). I figure 1-2 cup sizes down on that side post op. I know it's daft, and if it was just me, I probably wouldn't care as much, but I also want to make this as painless as possible for hubby. He may not have the cancer, but this is hard on him too. Radiation therapy would be a challenge (the breast center is 2 hours from here), but not impossible.

    I apologise for being a dork...none of us expect to be here, and your input is so appreciated. The only 2 women I know that fought BC recently, both died, and maybe that's why I'm a bit jumpy about recurrence. My surgeon was so cavalier he made it seem like that couldn't happen anymore, and I know that's not true. I will push for genetic testing, but unfortunately, when I spoke to the genetic counseling service this afternoon, the results wouldn't be in before my surgery because it takes 3-4 weeks for the test results to come back. Wish this wasn't so darn complicated ;-p

    Thanks again, Adhara
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Adhara_88 said:

    Thanks :)
    Wow Ladies, thank you! :)

    I suppose I'm little 'old school' in my thinking...but I have also read a number of abstracts and papers lately (I have a little background in the medical field), and it's clear to me that not all BC is created equal. A number of papers suggest that young women, still of reproductive age, tend more toward 1)positive BRCA status, 2) higher incidence of recurrence, and 3) higher likelihood of receptor negative negative cancers (that don't respond to the hormone prevention therapies), as I can tell Mimi is well aware of. Of course, for me at the moment, all three are up in the air (except for the ER receptor).

    Unfortunately, the way this center manages cancer patients, you don't get to meet the oncologist until AFTER your surgery...seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse to me. I suppose because I'm not much of a gambler, I tend more toward adopting the 'if in doubt cut it out' approach.

    For those of you that opted for lumpectomy + RT, stupid questions, but was the result cosmetically sufficent and comfortable, and is it a pain to get bras to fit? TMI probably, but I'm 34DD, and the surgeon said that for lumpectomy he'd take a 7-8cm segment of tissue from the right side for the palpable tumor (not sure yet what will happen with the new lesions on the left). I figure 1-2 cup sizes down on that side post op. I know it's daft, and if it was just me, I probably wouldn't care as much, but I also want to make this as painless as possible for hubby. He may not have the cancer, but this is hard on him too. Radiation therapy would be a challenge (the breast center is 2 hours from here), but not impossible.

    I apologise for being a dork...none of us expect to be here, and your input is so appreciated. The only 2 women I know that fought BC recently, both died, and maybe that's why I'm a bit jumpy about recurrence. My surgeon was so cavalier he made it seem like that couldn't happen anymore, and I know that's not true. I will push for genetic testing, but unfortunately, when I spoke to the genetic counseling service this afternoon, the results wouldn't be in before my surgery because it takes 3-4 weeks for the test results to come back. Wish this wasn't so darn complicated ;-p

    Thanks again, Adhara

    Younger women
    Adhara, you are definitely right about younger women's cancer, and many, many younger women feel more comfortable with mastectomy. I had a 2.6 cm. tumor in a C cup breast. The surgeon took out 6.5 cm. to get clear margins. The results, cosmetically, are very, very good. The area was flat at first (my lump was near the bottom of my breast), but has since filled in quite nicely. I do not need a special bra and am the same size as before. I definitely don't want to deal with recurrence, but I was a good candidate for breast conserving surgery: one lump, no concerns anywhere else, node negative. It would have been a different story had I been BRCA positive. It would have entailed another surgery and the lumpectomy would have been, essentially, "wasted."

    Though it is more likely that a younger woman will be BRCA positive, it is by no means assured. Only about 5% of cancers are BRCA positive cancers. I would still get the testing because of your age, but please don't assume that you will be positive. Chances are, you are negative, so don't lose sleep over this (easier said than done, for sure).

    As for receptor negative status, yes this can be frustrating, but there are therapies out there that are not hormonal. This is something to really get into with your oncologist. There are several clinical trials for negative cancers, and it is a topic that is really being explored in the research world right now. Please visit youngsurvival.org for much, much more information on this topic.

    I'm sorry to hear about your friends who did not make it. That can surely scare any person. But remember that there are many, many more women who do make it and live out their normal lifespans fully and happily.

    These early days are filled with decisions and anxieties. You will get through them, make the right decisions for you, and survive this. We are here for you.

    Mimi
  • mmontero38
    mmontero38 Member Posts: 1,510
    Hi and welcome to the club
    Hi and welcome to the club no one wants to join. LOL. Sorry we have to meet this way but you will meet a great group of women and men who are fighting the beast. I also had invasive ductal carcinomna grade III stage 1 with no node involvement er+ her/neu -. I opted for the mastectomy because at the time we weren't sure how aggressive the cancer was and we weren't sure how far it had spread since they found cancer cells in the blood vessels in the breast. Mine was also missed by 3 mammograms and only found when I felt the lump and had an ultrasound, at which point the cancer center did not let me leave until my doctor had sent a prescription for a needle core biopsy. So, in a way, my situation is almost identical to yours. I think it would be a personal choice and what you would feel comfortable with. For me, mastectomy was the way to go. I wanted the beast out of me as soon as possible so everything was scheduled within a week of diagnosis. I opted for reconstruction, 4 months after I finished with chemo, because it took me that long to find a plastic surgeon that I absolutely adore. Keep us posted and hugs, Lili
  • EveningStar2
    EveningStar2 Member Posts: 491 Member
    Adhara_88 said:

    Thanks :)
    Wow Ladies, thank you! :)

    I suppose I'm little 'old school' in my thinking...but I have also read a number of abstracts and papers lately (I have a little background in the medical field), and it's clear to me that not all BC is created equal. A number of papers suggest that young women, still of reproductive age, tend more toward 1)positive BRCA status, 2) higher incidence of recurrence, and 3) higher likelihood of receptor negative negative cancers (that don't respond to the hormone prevention therapies), as I can tell Mimi is well aware of. Of course, for me at the moment, all three are up in the air (except for the ER receptor).

    Unfortunately, the way this center manages cancer patients, you don't get to meet the oncologist until AFTER your surgery...seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse to me. I suppose because I'm not much of a gambler, I tend more toward adopting the 'if in doubt cut it out' approach.

    For those of you that opted for lumpectomy + RT, stupid questions, but was the result cosmetically sufficent and comfortable, and is it a pain to get bras to fit? TMI probably, but I'm 34DD, and the surgeon said that for lumpectomy he'd take a 7-8cm segment of tissue from the right side for the palpable tumor (not sure yet what will happen with the new lesions on the left). I figure 1-2 cup sizes down on that side post op. I know it's daft, and if it was just me, I probably wouldn't care as much, but I also want to make this as painless as possible for hubby. He may not have the cancer, but this is hard on him too. Radiation therapy would be a challenge (the breast center is 2 hours from here), but not impossible.

    I apologise for being a dork...none of us expect to be here, and your input is so appreciated. The only 2 women I know that fought BC recently, both died, and maybe that's why I'm a bit jumpy about recurrence. My surgeon was so cavalier he made it seem like that couldn't happen anymore, and I know that's not true. I will push for genetic testing, but unfortunately, when I spoke to the genetic counseling service this afternoon, the results wouldn't be in before my surgery because it takes 3-4 weeks for the test results to come back. Wish this wasn't so darn complicated ;-p

    Thanks again, Adhara

    FWIW

    I had a lumpectomy on the right breast. The microcalcification that was positive was very small but there was a cluster and she took the group. From the guide wires that were placed, it was about 2.5 inches long. I was a 42 D/DD before and although I know the right breast is now smalled, it's still bigger than the left. Same bras as before. The incision site is still kinda wrinkled but I'm only 3 weeks post op. It looks fine as long as I'm not doing nude modeling. **grin**

    Maureen
  • cabbott
    cabbott Member Posts: 1,039 Member
    Adhara_88 said:

    Thanks :)
    Wow Ladies, thank you! :)

    I suppose I'm little 'old school' in my thinking...but I have also read a number of abstracts and papers lately (I have a little background in the medical field), and it's clear to me that not all BC is created equal. A number of papers suggest that young women, still of reproductive age, tend more toward 1)positive BRCA status, 2) higher incidence of recurrence, and 3) higher likelihood of receptor negative negative cancers (that don't respond to the hormone prevention therapies), as I can tell Mimi is well aware of. Of course, for me at the moment, all three are up in the air (except for the ER receptor).

    Unfortunately, the way this center manages cancer patients, you don't get to meet the oncologist until AFTER your surgery...seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse to me. I suppose because I'm not much of a gambler, I tend more toward adopting the 'if in doubt cut it out' approach.

    For those of you that opted for lumpectomy + RT, stupid questions, but was the result cosmetically sufficent and comfortable, and is it a pain to get bras to fit? TMI probably, but I'm 34DD, and the surgeon said that for lumpectomy he'd take a 7-8cm segment of tissue from the right side for the palpable tumor (not sure yet what will happen with the new lesions on the left). I figure 1-2 cup sizes down on that side post op. I know it's daft, and if it was just me, I probably wouldn't care as much, but I also want to make this as painless as possible for hubby. He may not have the cancer, but this is hard on him too. Radiation therapy would be a challenge (the breast center is 2 hours from here), but not impossible.

    I apologise for being a dork...none of us expect to be here, and your input is so appreciated. The only 2 women I know that fought BC recently, both died, and maybe that's why I'm a bit jumpy about recurrence. My surgeon was so cavalier he made it seem like that couldn't happen anymore, and I know that's not true. I will push for genetic testing, but unfortunately, when I spoke to the genetic counseling service this afternoon, the results wouldn't be in before my surgery because it takes 3-4 weeks for the test results to come back. Wish this wasn't so darn complicated ;-p

    Thanks again, Adhara

    radiation options
    I know it isn't as common, but they can implant radioactive "seeds" or a balloon in the surgical area and get radiation (the whole course) started and finished in under a week. It's worth looking into if distance is a problem and you otherwise would opt for a lumpectomy. You would probably have to travel to a hospital teaching center that specializes in it for both surgery and the treatment. I have read that the side effects and positive effects are similar.

    C. Abbott
  • Eil4186
    Eil4186 Member Posts: 949
    Adhara_88 said:

    Thanks :)
    Wow Ladies, thank you! :)

    I suppose I'm little 'old school' in my thinking...but I have also read a number of abstracts and papers lately (I have a little background in the medical field), and it's clear to me that not all BC is created equal. A number of papers suggest that young women, still of reproductive age, tend more toward 1)positive BRCA status, 2) higher incidence of recurrence, and 3) higher likelihood of receptor negative negative cancers (that don't respond to the hormone prevention therapies), as I can tell Mimi is well aware of. Of course, for me at the moment, all three are up in the air (except for the ER receptor).

    Unfortunately, the way this center manages cancer patients, you don't get to meet the oncologist until AFTER your surgery...seems a bit like putting the cart before the horse to me. I suppose because I'm not much of a gambler, I tend more toward adopting the 'if in doubt cut it out' approach.

    For those of you that opted for lumpectomy + RT, stupid questions, but was the result cosmetically sufficent and comfortable, and is it a pain to get bras to fit? TMI probably, but I'm 34DD, and the surgeon said that for lumpectomy he'd take a 7-8cm segment of tissue from the right side for the palpable tumor (not sure yet what will happen with the new lesions on the left). I figure 1-2 cup sizes down on that side post op. I know it's daft, and if it was just me, I probably wouldn't care as much, but I also want to make this as painless as possible for hubby. He may not have the cancer, but this is hard on him too. Radiation therapy would be a challenge (the breast center is 2 hours from here), but not impossible.

    I apologise for being a dork...none of us expect to be here, and your input is so appreciated. The only 2 women I know that fought BC recently, both died, and maybe that's why I'm a bit jumpy about recurrence. My surgeon was so cavalier he made it seem like that couldn't happen anymore, and I know that's not true. I will push for genetic testing, but unfortunately, when I spoke to the genetic counseling service this afternoon, the results wouldn't be in before my surgery because it takes 3-4 weeks for the test results to come back. Wish this wasn't so darn complicated ;-p

    Thanks again, Adhara

    Hi Adhara, Sorry you are
    Hi Adhara, Sorry you are going through this. I can understand your concern in regards to making a decision about surgery. I had a small tumor and chose to have a lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy. My first instinct was to have a mastectomy but that was a heartwrenching decision. Thankfully my wonderful surgeon took the time to go over the extensive research that shows that lumpectomy with rads. is just as effective as mastectomy in the long term. He explained that if the tumor can be removed with clear margins, then it does not make any sense to remove perfectly healthy tissue along with it (the entire breast).
    I was so relieved because I was devastated at the thought of having a body part cut away.
    I had partial breast rads. so if I ever develop a new primary cancer somewhere else in that breast I could have another lumpectomy. I want my own breast. But everyones situation is different and you have to do whats appropriate for your cancer. Nowadays, most surgeons will advise a lumpectomy when the tumor can be removed cleanly. As the years go by the ideal is towards conserving the breast instead of cutting it away.

    Again though, if there are multiple tumors in the breast or the cancer is spread throughout the breast or if the tumor is so large that you would not get an esthetically acceptable result then you may have to have a mastectomy.
  • seof
    seof Member Posts: 819 Member
    my 2 cents worth
    I would say get a second opinion, or a third...whatever it takes to help you feel like you have the information you need. You are the one who has to live with the consequences of the decision you make, it is the Dr's job to help you be as informed as possible.

    I had a bilateral mastectomy, although my Dr. said I had only a 10% chance of cancer recurring in the healthy breast, and our insurance said it would not pay for the other side (as it turned out insurance reimbursed us after the fact) because I did not want to live with the 10%. I know cancer may come back some other place, but it won't be there!

    Anyway, sorry you have reason to join us, but welcome to this discussion board. You will find lots of help here.

    seof.
  • lynn1950
    lynn1950 Member Posts: 2,570
    I had tthe choice of a lumpectomy
    My surgeon gave me the choice of a lumpectomy, but I decided to do a bilateral mastectomy (prophylactic on the right side), because I am all for bilateral symmetry and I didn't want to ever have the surgery again. It turns out that my cancer was more extensive than first thought, including nodes involved. The tumor was 2.2 cm. My surgeon said afterward that I had made the right choice. I also had the BRCA test - but my mom and my younger sister were diagnosed with DCIS the same year I was. It turns out that we are all three negative! But this is good to know for my other sisters and our children.

    I think the only right answer is the answer that feels right to you. I had a gut feeling that something bad was going on that my surgeon was not "getting." A mammogram is not necessarily the whole story. Once my surgeon knew what I wanted she was supportive of my decision.

    Best wishes for whatever you decide. Lynn
  • tommaseena
    tommaseena Member Posts: 1,769
    BC surgery?
    I am new to this.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer 12/8/08. DCIS with invasion. The surgeon I first went to recommended lumpectomy with node biopsy. I have a strong family history of breast CA and opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I went for a second opinion in another state which specializes in breast cancer and treatment and was staged at that point 1A because the surgeon didn't know if it was in the lymph node or not and she highly recommended a mastectomy and double mastectomy would be fine given history. I had the surgery on my 45th birthday 2/2/09. I feel that going for a second opinion is very important. I found that my path results were progesterone & estrogen negative but HER2+ and will be seeing a medical oncologist on 2/20/09 for treatment options.

    Margo
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member

    BC surgery?
    I am new to this.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer 12/8/08. DCIS with invasion. The surgeon I first went to recommended lumpectomy with node biopsy. I have a strong family history of breast CA and opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I went for a second opinion in another state which specializes in breast cancer and treatment and was staged at that point 1A because the surgeon didn't know if it was in the lymph node or not and she highly recommended a mastectomy and double mastectomy would be fine given history. I had the surgery on my 45th birthday 2/2/09. I feel that going for a second opinion is very important. I found that my path results were progesterone & estrogen negative but HER2+ and will be seeing a medical oncologist on 2/20/09 for treatment options.

    Margo

    Welcome Margo
    So sorry you have to be here, but since we have no control over the hand we've been dealt you have come to the right place to help you with questions you might have.. you will recieve many answers and support on this board. Keep posting with your concerns and if only to vent. You have many courageous sisters in pink here ready and willing to help.
    Good luck on the 20th and let us know how you are doing. your in my prayers.
    God Bless
    Jackie