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Masectomy vs Lumpectomy

Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2012

I was diagnosis 10 years ago with breast cancer in my left breast. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. Now here I am 10 years later with a tumor in the right breast. I am so confused about what to do. Do I want another lumpectomy, radiation maybe chemo. Or do I just want to have a bilateral masectomy and be done with this whole mess. My left breast is considerably small as a result of radiation. If I was to get cancer in either breast again a masectomy would be necessary. Also maybe older and not as healthy. Took the BRACA test which turns into an insurance nightmare between approvals and denals. any thoughts....

lynn1950's picture
Posts: 2574
Joined: Jun 2008

Wow! There is no easy answer. For me, I didn't want to revisit breast surgery, so I went with a bilateral mastectomy. Then, I was scared to have reconstruction, so I have been sort of pancake flat for 4 years. Now I want reconstruction (this summer).

Should I just have had a lumpectomy....well, I'm glad I went with the mastectomies and in the end my surgeon agreed with me. This isn't a right/wrong answer question. It's what feels right in your heart. You win either way. xoxoxo Lynn

LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi sweet sister - I'm sorry you are going through this AGAIN, after so many years. We always hope we never have to face this beast again, but nothing is guaranteed.

I was dx at 32 last year and had a lumpectomy. I'm not the same because I always worry about getting new lumps. If I was well educated (and less nervous) about my diagnosis, I would have probably had a mastectomy. But I was scared. Plus I needed to start chemo right away, since I needed additional time to harvest my eggs. I guess it was the right decision at the time. However, if I'm faced with this again (and I pray I never will), I may remove them. This is a very personal decision though. Lynn gave you great advice! It is what feels right for YOU in your heart.

I understand that surgery + radiation has the same results as the removal of the breast.

Whatever you decide to do, I want to wish you good luck and I will pray that this is your LAST time dealing with this.

Please keep us posted. We care.

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

I want to add something, my two cents...for what it's worth....this is from MY personal experience....when I was first diagnosed on 2009 my first thought was oh no, this means a mastectomy....to my surprise, my breast surgeon said a lumpectomy would be fine....that there is no greater survial rate with a mastectomy vs a lumpectomy because it is impossible to remove all breast tissue which to my surprise goes under your armpit to the start of your back....I also think many women who decide on mastectomies are under the misconception that they'll never have to worry about bc again....sadly that isn't true...and again I speak from personal experience.....I had the lumpectomy, chemo and radiation...was cancer free for 19 months...it came back...not in either breast ...but in my lymph nodes...and I had clean margins and NO lymph node involvement at the time of the lumpectomy.......had oral chemo for 7 months...then my tumor markers shot up to 98....indicating cancer was progressing..scans proved the tumor markers were spot on...I had 3 small "spots" on my brain...I was totally without symptoms....under went 10 brain radiation treatments.....so far so good...my tumor markers are now in normal range and I am considered in remission....remarkable, considering I am stage IV.....My oncologist secured Avastin for me even though the FDA pulled in in Jan. For stage IV bc...it's, so far, been then game changer for me......my tumor markers are now 34.... normal range....I still have chemo every 3 weeks...I can deal with that....

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't be lulled into thinking a mastectomy ensures you'll never have to worry again about bc...not true....most don't ever have a recurrence but it's a possibilty.......sadly once we have bc, for most it never leaves our minds.... you have to remain diligent....

And every decision has to be made for what one feels is right for them....

Wishing you the best in your decision....please keep posting....we care
Hugs, Nancy

Frankie Shannon
Posts: 457
Joined: Oct 2011

This is a personal decision that only you and your Dr. can make.I chose a bil mastectomy with no reconstruction.My lymph nodes where clear of cancer so had no chem or rads but am on Tamoxifen for 5 years.With that said cancer can still come back as there is always some breast tissue left so we just hope for the best.I don't know what the BRACA test is.
Hugs Frankie

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