discourage mestectomy?????

MCJ
MCJ Member Posts: 59
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Has anyone ever been discouraged from having a masectomy? The docs say we are a prime candidate for a lumpectomy and want us to do so. But after seeing a few docs and talking with some beautiful survivors of both procedures we decided to have a masectomy.

So they want us to do chemo first to shrink the tumor first.
Any views on this?

Comments

  • lovelylola
    lovelylola Member Posts: 279
    Lumpectomy or Mastectomy
    Sounds like you are comfortable with your choice. That's what counts! I opted for a double mastectomy because of family history. I'm confused (maybe it's just a Senior moment) but if you are choosing a mastectomy, what would be the benefit of chemo now? The tumor would be gone anyway. The only reason I can see but could be wrong, for chemo would be to kill anything in nodes, but you won't know how far it's spread to nodes or if it has until surgery. Maybe its the location of the tumor but I would definitely check it out with the doctor. Smarter sisters than I are on this site and I'm sure will be answering as well. Take care and sending you internet hugs. Lola
  • sophy
    sophy Member Posts: 22
    masectomy
    Hi, I had a mesectomy on my right breast last year. no regrets, and after having chemo and radiation, I have decided to have the left breast off when i have my reconstruction. There is a history in my family so I feel it is the right choice for me, also my surgeon and my oncologist agree. i had stage 2 cancer and out of the 30 nodes they took out I had cancer in three of them. The loss of your breasts is a small price to pay for your life. What kept me going through all the emotions of losing it was the thought of all the soldiers who have lost legs, arms etc. they did not have a choice, or even time to prepare themselves. I had that time, and I made the choice. Their stories and their courage are what kept me going. I will have breasts back soon, not the ones I had before but I am alive. I wish you all the best and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, you can do it!!
  • Katz77
    Katz77 Member Posts: 598
    Mast vs Lump
    I had a mast. All margins were clear, But had total node involvement : ( sooo I think it would depend on lymph nodes. Ask ur onc. I'm still in uncharted waters. Internet hugs and prayers.
  • MCJ
    MCJ Member Posts: 59

    Lumpectomy or Mastectomy
    Sounds like you are comfortable with your choice. That's what counts! I opted for a double mastectomy because of family history. I'm confused (maybe it's just a Senior moment) but if you are choosing a mastectomy, what would be the benefit of chemo now? The tumor would be gone anyway. The only reason I can see but could be wrong, for chemo would be to kill anything in nodes, but you won't know how far it's spread to nodes or if it has until surgery. Maybe its the location of the tumor but I would definitely check it out with the doctor. Smarter sisters than I are on this site and I'm sure will be answering as well. Take care and sending you internet hugs. Lola

    Hi Lola
    They want us to get

    Hi Lola
    They want us to get a lumpectomy, they say we are a prime candidate for it, therefore chemo first to shrink it then surgery. We even think [not totally sure] they first said they could NOT save the nipple with the lumpectmy, now they say they can.
    You are right we are comfortable in our decision for masectomy [it took a while], and with that we would have surgery first. We are now very confused and anxious, we had a few choices we made them and it is like the docs rather we save the breast. Our thinking is that with masectomy/surgery first we will know exactly how many lumph nodes are bad. And we remove that nasty lump.

    going crazy
  • dyaneb123
    dyaneb123 Member Posts: 950
    Hmmm...that's weird that
    Hmmm...that's weird that they would do a lumpectomy if the tumor is large enough to need to be shrunk before surgery....I started out trying for a lumpectomy but the margins weren't clean so I ended up with a mastecomy anyway. So, do what feels right for you.
  • Masectomy
    This is my second time around. I had lempectomy the first time and 14 years later it came back. This time even though only one breast was affected I had a bi-lateral masectomy. I did Chemo first and the lump shrunk to nothing. A lot of people were saying that I shouldn't do the surgery. I also did a Genetic Test to ensure that it was not in my genes. The result was negative. If it was positive I wold also remove the ovaries. Why? Anything to prevent a reoccurance of this. We can live normal lives without breast or ovaries. Although it's up to you, think hard and long befor making your decision.
  • ColoradoGal
    ColoradoGal Member Posts: 14

    Masectomy
    This is my second time around. I had lempectomy the first time and 14 years later it came back. This time even though only one breast was affected I had a bi-lateral masectomy. I did Chemo first and the lump shrunk to nothing. A lot of people were saying that I shouldn't do the surgery. I also did a Genetic Test to ensure that it was not in my genes. The result was negative. If it was positive I wold also remove the ovaries. Why? Anything to prevent a reoccurance of this. We can live normal lives without breast or ovaries. Although it's up to you, think hard and long befor making your decision.

    My decision to have a mastectomy to remove 2.5 CM tumor 8/07/09
    I was given two choices: chemo to shrink the tumor, followed by a mastectomy, then more chemo and radiation. Initially, when I was present this option, I thought it was neccessary to do this to give my surgeon a better shot at getting clear margins, by shrinking the tumor. However, I decided on a mastectomy to maximize surgery and minimize chemo&radiation. Plus, I really did not want ANY breast tissue left in my body that had once or might again contain cancer cells. I have an expander which will eventually look like a real breast again. Yes, its important to me to have a breast again, but the primary decision was how to best get RID of the cancer without weaking my body too much in the process. Since I did not have a problem with having my breast removed, I was able to avoid toxic chemo and radition by getting a mastectomy. Avoiding neoadjuvent chemo was more important to me that saving my breast. You have to ask your doctors what ALL of your choices are - not just go with that they recommend. Recomember, they are scientist at heart. And it's very interesting to them to zap a tumor with chemo first, to see how might react. the problem is that they are doing so, without actually knowing first if you are node neg or pos, and without a path report on the actual tumor. So, in a way, they are kinda guessing at what type of coctail might be best. Turns out I am N0,M0, Stage11, wide clear margins and low oncotype score...which means I will probably skip chemo and go o Tamoxafin. I would not have known that, had I agreed to chemo firt, then lumpectomy, then more chemo & radiation. So, speak up and ask why a certain course of treatment is being suggested for you. Because if the only good answer is "so you can save your breast", then you need to weigh that against the effects of neoadjuvent chemo, followed by surgery, followed by more chemo and raditioan. Is that worth keeping a breast? In my case, it was not.
  • zahalene
    zahalene Member Posts: 670
    I am HERE
    I lost one breast in '86 and the other in '88. Really had no choice. Followed by chemo (twice), rads, tamoxifen. Chose not to have recon.
    I have been 'breastless' for over 20 years. Bottom line....I am HERE to tell you that it is an adjustment that can be made with grace and dignity and does not need to disqualify a woman for any of the good things life has to offer in her future.
    And, as sophy said it so well, we are blessed to have the opportunity to decide for ourselves and prepare ahead of time for our 'new normal'.
    God bless.
  • lanie940
    lanie940 Member Posts: 490
    zahalene said:

    I am HERE
    I lost one breast in '86 and the other in '88. Really had no choice. Followed by chemo (twice), rads, tamoxifen. Chose not to have recon.
    I have been 'breastless' for over 20 years. Bottom line....I am HERE to tell you that it is an adjustment that can be made with grace and dignity and does not need to disqualify a woman for any of the good things life has to offer in her future.
    And, as sophy said it so well, we are blessed to have the opportunity to decide for ourselves and prepare ahead of time for our 'new normal'.
    God bless.

    One of my aunts had the full
    One of my aunts had the full radical mastectomy in the 60's, she lived to be in her 80's. I had several Nursing home residents who had breasts removed and lived to their 80's. This is sad but still kinda funny. One of my residents had dementia, she would undress almost anywhere. One evening she undressed in the TV room, and walked down the hall where one of the male residents room was. She was buff naked! We didn't know this at the time for we were getting others ready for bed. this male resident shouted out "There's a naked woman with no breasts walking down the hall" God love her, her name was Irene. We quick got her robe and took her too her room.
  • e_hope
    e_hope Member Posts: 370
    I had the option also to do the chemo to "try" to shrink the tumor to have a lumpectomy. I opted to have the double mastectomy. I was NOT going to do chemo first to "try" to shrink the tumor and if it didn't shrink end up with the mastectomy any way. For me the tumors placement would have left me disfigured if he did a lumpectomy without shrinking the tumor first. that being said my Breast surgeon was totally on board and supportive of my choice. He never once tried to change my mind.

    I believe you have to do what makes you feel most comfortable. because in the end.. We have to live with the results. Your surgeon should only guide you and tell you all your options not try to sway you one way or another.

    also what I was told about chemo first to shrink tumors it can....
    1. shrink the tumor small enough to successfully remove the tumor via lumpectomy or
    2. only make the tumor less dense with cancer and the actual tumor size not change
    and in this case you still will need a mastectomy..

    My advice... make a decision and stick to you guns... it's your body....
  • KorynH
    KorynH Member Posts: 13
    e_hope said:

    I had the option also to do the chemo to "try" to shrink the tumor to have a lumpectomy. I opted to have the double mastectomy. I was NOT going to do chemo first to "try" to shrink the tumor and if it didn't shrink end up with the mastectomy any way. For me the tumors placement would have left me disfigured if he did a lumpectomy without shrinking the tumor first. that being said my Breast surgeon was totally on board and supportive of my choice. He never once tried to change my mind.

    I believe you have to do what makes you feel most comfortable. because in the end.. We have to live with the results. Your surgeon should only guide you and tell you all your options not try to sway you one way or another.

    also what I was told about chemo first to shrink tumors it can....
    1. shrink the tumor small enough to successfully remove the tumor via lumpectomy or
    2. only make the tumor less dense with cancer and the actual tumor size not change
    and in this case you still will need a mastectomy..

    My advice... make a decision and stick to you guns... it's your body....

    Know what you are getting in to
    I had two tumors too far apart to have a lumpectomy so I had a single mastectomy. The initial biopsy before that was a lumpectomy of sorts without clear margins so you must also realize that if having a lumpectomy and they don't get clear margins you could be looking at a mastectomy anyways. But it sounds like you are okay with the mastectomy. That said, I wished my doctor had really driven home to me what a mastectomy will do for you. As far as I am aware, there are not many cases when the nipple can be saved, especially if your cancer was in the ducts. Even if they spare the nipple, you will have no sensation, no nerves, no feeling for the rest of your life. I was not able to have the nipple spared. There is a 5 inch long scar along the area where the nipple use to be. I had a tissue expander placement at the mastectomy surgery and then that wa replaced with a silicone implant this summer. Skin is numb on that breast and alwyas will be my plastic surgeon assured me. So while I do have a "shape" to fill the bra cup, it most definitely is not a new breast. That erogenous zone is gone forever. Thus, I am very happy I kept my other breast. My dcotr said that breast will be so closely followed with MRI every year and mammograms in between that should it deveop a cancer we can catch it early. Just know that a mastectomy even with reconstruction will not replace your breast or nipple. Get another opinion and that may help you understand more or make a clearer decision. Best of luck! Feel free to ask anyone one this site questions - we are all here to help support you.
    Koryn
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