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Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy

epark's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi ladies...

So I had a Lumpectomy done..my tumor was .09cm and margin and nodes were clear. When i found out i had breast cancer i wanted my breast gone and was going to get a Mastectomy However, my BS said that a Lumpectomy is just as effective as a Mastectomy...the average women who never had cancer has a 9% chance of getting breast cancer..since i had breast cancer on my left breast my chances of getting it on my left breast is 5% and 10%-11% on my right breast also with a Mastectomy there is a small chance you can get it back on the chest wall..but the difference with me than the average women is that i will be monitor more closely...I did the BRACA test and it was negative...So with that said, im having second thoughts and now I wish i had a Mastectomy...i'm so scare of a reccurance..

has anyone had any regerts doing the lumpectomy?


Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2011

When I heard I had IBC, Stage IIB, HER Pos, Grade 3I was determined they were not going to take my breast. Totally irrational, I know. I had 2 lumps - one was 3 cm and one .09 cm, both in the left breast, plus 2 cancerous axillary lymph nodes. Because of the cancerous lymph nodes I got 6 months chemo first, then surgery. At the start of treatment I was told I HAD to have a mastectomy due to the size of the tumors and finally accepted this. However, at the end of chemo PET scans showed no more cancer, a lumpectomy was performed, clean margins, no cancer, 18 lymph nodes were removed - also clear. Surgery was followed by radiation. I am quite a bit older and was told that, especially at my age, the chances of recurrence is no greater with lumpectomy than with mastectomy. If you google, you may find some studies on that subject. At my support group, however, many more women had mastectomy and I also started to second guess myself.My breasts are large and I woauld have wanted to have reconstruction, which in itself can cause problems! I'll see the oncologist again beginning of Oct. and will ask him. I am going to insist on 3 months ongoing visits to the oncologist, just to be sure.
Hugs, Marlene

Lynn Smith
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mar 2011

I understand how you feel. I wasn't told I needed a masectomy. I was told my tumor was 1/2 centimeter,my cancer is non invasive and margins clear.I wasn't given a choice because I assume my doctor felt pretty comfortable with my surgery results.Non invasive and a tiny tumor.I settled for that.

It is a big decision on what we should do.We don't know what is right or what is wrong.I remember years ago telling my friend "You need a masectomy".I told her I would if I was you and was dx with Stage 3 cancer.Well her doctor told her the same as what your doctor told you.It doesnt matter if it's a masectomy or lumpectomy. My friend is doing great after 16 years.The same with a another friend of mine.I thought for sure her doctor would say masectomy with a fast growing cancer.Her doctor told her the same thing.No difference in the prognosis.

I had a biopsy 3 weeks ago.Benign.This is my 3rd benign tumor in the 2 years of my dx.The first benign was taken with the cancer tumor.Then 3 weeks later the second benign tumor was taken with my margin surgery. I am fortunate they were benign but very trying on the nerves. My friends don't have these scares and their cancer was much more invasive than mine.Even some lymph node involvement.

I wonder about the BRACA test. I will ask about that with my oncologist appt.in October.With me being the 3rd generation with breast cancer I am a risk for sure.My mom, my niece and now me.

As my doctor says "Everyone is different".Makes us wonder what we should do??? What is good for one might not be good for another.I think of that over and over.

Lynn Smith

CAchick's picture
Posts: 277
Joined: May 2011

Hi Eva, I had two lumpectomies, with clear margins, and no node involvement. The lump in L breast was IDC, the lump in R breast was benign. Had a lump near the scar of the cancer lump later--it was only scar tissue. I am glad that medicine has advanced...they used to always do mastectomies. Evidence has changed that trend, as you stated. I think that I will always be watchful for cancer returning, whether I had mastectomies or not.

You seem like such a sweet person. I pray for you to have comfort and peace! As for your parting question, I don't regret lumpectomies...But that is just me.
Hugs to you, and wishes for peace of mind,

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2803
Joined: Jun 2010

but I would have done that had I had a mastectomy, too. Then I would have wondered if I'd really needed to. My tumor was the same size as yours (0.9 cm). We simply can't second guess ourselves forever. I have gone over my decision in my much more rational mind many times and given the same set of circumstances I would have made the same decision. I don't think I would have had reconstruction at my age, but if I had been advised to have a mastectomy, I would have done it without hesitation.


Posts: 4376
Joined: Jun 2009

I had a lumpectomy with rads. According to what I have been told and have read, a lumpectomy with rads is equal to a mastectomy in survivorship and in a recurrence. I am very glad that I could keep my breast and have never regretted it, nor, will I.

Some women don't have a choice and have to have a mastectomy.

Hugs, Jan

laughs_a_lot's picture
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mar 2011

My surgeon said it is the young ones are the ones who benefit more from a masectomy vs lumpectomy. The chances of getting cancer again increase with age. However the increase is so minute that you probably would be dead from another cause when your chances from a lumpectomy finally reach the level where you should have had a masectomy instead. I am 55. I had a lumpectomy and I had a tumor that was 6.6cm at it's largest dimension. I also had two lymph nodes involved. I will be going for the BCRA test as well for the sake of my kids. I am glad that I had the lumpectomy now, (though I had my doubts at the time). The recovery time is less for the lumpectomy and I am a rather busy person. I also am the one pulling the benefit train for the family. The less time off the better for me.

Posts: 148
Joined: Jun 2011

Eva, I have had both a lumpectomy (seven years ago) and a mastectomy (last November). Both were on my left side. I definitely don't regret the lumpectomy. If you don't get a recurrence or a new cancer in that breast, you get to keep your breast and you don't have major surgery, you don't lose all feeling in your chest and under your arm because your nerves were removed, and you don't lose any range of motion in your shoulder. Since I did have a new cancer, and it was multiple tumors, I didn't have an option the second time. I don't regret the mastectomy because it was clearly necessary. But I am glad I was able to have an additional seven years without dealing with the effects of this major surgery. I am probably not going to have reconstruction, but if I were younger, I would probably want to do that and be facing even more serious surgery.

If you read the studies (or, to be more accurate, the summaries of the studies in books and articles, as I do), lumpectomy plus adjuvant treatment (radiation and/or chemo) is as effective as mastectomy in certain types of cases. If you are one of those cases, why take the drastic route? Of course, everyone is different, and I turned out to the exception to the rule, but I still think it worked out for the best. I don't regret it one bit.

Heatherbelle's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Jun 2010

I'd just like to point out that I had a double mastectomy. I was 34 at the time of my diagnosis and had a 2cm tumor in my right breast. My dr. assured me a lumpectomy + chemo + radiation would be as safe as a mastectomy. I chose to have both of my breasts removed & had reconstruction.
I did not lose all the feeling in my chest, in fact the only numbness I have is right in the middle, along the scar line, where my nipple will be when I get my tattoos. I have no numbness in either armpit (and I did have sentinel node biopsy). I also have had complete range of motion since the day I had my mastectomy, and have never had any problems with it.
The reconstruction was really not much of a big deal compared the other things I've had to deal with regarding my cancer journey. I'd hardly call my implant exchange surgery a "serious" surgery since it's commonly performed in my plastic surgeon's procedure room (because of insurance issues I HAD to have mine at the hospital), and it did not require a stay in the hospital.
You may have heard from a person who had bad experiences like that but it's not fair to make assumptions that all women who have mastectomies and reconstruction have the horrible side effects like you mentioned.
Choosing MY surgery has given me peace of mind. My breasts look very nice, there are no indents in them, they are even, and I'm extremely happy with my choice. But I would never suggest to anyone else to have one surgery over the other because one is "better". In the end, you have to do what's best for you.

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

I was told by one onco (my onco was changing practices) that I did not need a mastectomy. 1.97 cent. tumor on right breast. When the surgeon did the biopsy (I was out), she woke me up and said she did big margins and didn't get it all, asked her what she would do, she said a mastectomy. So she put me back out and sewed me up. One week later, she did a mastectomy. Never regretted it. That same onco also told me that chemo was over kill. That my chances of having a recurrence were slim to none!

I went back to my real onco, and had chemo. I don't regret for a minute my decision to have the mastectomy or the chemo. 8 1/2 years later, it was through my bones, but without the chemo and mastectomy, I don't know that I would have gotten this long. I guess what I am saying is there are no guarantee's.

From the time I was diagnosed in 2002, I never once felt that this journey was a done deal. I was on massive doses of Hormone Replacement Therapy, as well as birth control to try and control Endometriosis, from the time I was 17. And studies have shown that cancer caused by hormones make it harder for chemo to penetrate solid tumors.

So you will have to do whatever it takes for you to be comfortable with whatever treatment you choose. The good thing about having a lumpectomy first, is that you have allowed yourself the room to change your mind. Once you have a mastectomy, you can't go back.

Now that the cancer is out, you can take some time and really decide what you want to do.

~ Carol

Posts: 992
Joined: Sep 2009

I recently read THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES. This book is the history of cancer treatments. I really recommend it.


DianeBC's picture
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

No reason to regret having my lumpectomy. I am very glad that I could have it and not have to have a mastectomy.

I know that my risks of survival and a recurrence are the same as women having mastectomies.

Hugs, Diane

Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2011

Forgot to mention (chemo brain) that I had to give the surgeon permission to do a mastectomy should he consider it necessary once he opened me up. Since he did not do it that gives me a little bit comfort.

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I had lumpectomy and never even thought I have should done totall removal!


Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

I had a lumpectomy Eva and never thought about a mastectomy. My doctors didn't think it was necessary at all since I had a small tumor and clear margins. I did have rads about 6 weeks after I healed from the lumpectomy.

Hugs, Angie

debi.18's picture
Posts: 850
Joined: Jun 2011

My tumor was 2.2cm with 2 nodes involved. I opted for the lumpectomy. Either way, I still needed the chemo and rads. All my docs agreed that there was no reason for the mastectomy, let the chemo and rads take care of the rest. I didn't want to go through additional surgery that I didn't absolutley have to have. No regrets so far - of course it's only been a couple of months.

I think either way, we all fear recurrence.

Stay strong!!


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I have no idea of any #s, size etc...nor option of mastactomy just lumpectomy was suggested and done...


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I have no idea of any #s, size etc...nor option of mastactomy just lumpectomy was suggested and done...


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I have no idea of any #s, size etc...nor option of mastactomy just lumpectomy was suggested and done...


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I have no idea of any #s, size etc...nor option of mastactomy just lumpectomy was suggested and done...


Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

I had a lumpectomy and then had rads. I agree with Debi that no matter what surgery we have, we always have that lingering thought of a recurrence. I just hope and pray that someday a cure is found and no one has to go thru what we have.


Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2011

Oct. issue of Prevention has an excellent article on breast cancer.

Nancy C.
Posts: 9
Joined: Sep 2011

I was not given a choice my doctor said Mastectomy was it. The cancer was in the left
breast but I told him to take both. I did not want to come back. I have no regrets.
I was very lucky they told me it was contained and the 2 lymph nodes they took and
all others were clear. Because I had a hysterectomy years ago (mine was estrogen fed)I was given the option of doing chemo or radiation. I start the radiation treatments on the 20th. It has been three weeks sence the surgery. I feel I made the right choice having both breast
removed just to have peace of mine. I know it is a roller coster ride, just pray about it
and make sure you have a good support team around you and you will make the right choice
for you.

LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

HI Eva -- I had a lumpectomy. I have to to tell you that I'm starting to question my decision, because I'm only 33. I believe the younger women can benefit from a mastectomy and that's because the risk increases each year. However, there's tissue left even after the mastectomy, so when I made my decision, I kept thinking about my chest wall. One can't worry too much though just pray we've made the right choice. I think you're only preventing "new" cancers from developing and not doing anything about the one you've already gotten. So for your current cancer treatment, I was told lumpectomy + rad is the same as mastectomy. But mastectomy would prevent new ones from developing.

There are so many different cases and we're so different. I think Drs. usually suggest the the best treatment, but they are obligated to give you all options so you are the one who decides.

I've decided to do self exams once a month - I was doing them daily out of anxiety.

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