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decision time

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2012

I was diagnosed with grade 1 breast cancer a week ago. the mass is still small...2 cm. I am so torn over what treatment to undergo. The lumpectomy seems like it would be least invasive. But, the radiation and hormone therapy sound pretty lousy. Is it an overreaction to even be considering mastectomy? And even crazier to consider bilateral? Anyone else struggle with this?

Ctine70's picture
Posts: 150
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi and welcome, sorry you have to be going through this but you found a great site to help you get through.
I was diagnosed in June 2012 with IDC stage 1. I was confused on what to do myself. I struggled with the decision like you between a lumpectomy and a bilateral mastectomy. I have a strong family history of BC ( every women on my mothers side has had it going all the back to my great grandmother) and was worried about reoccurance. In the end I decided to go with the lumpectomy because my doctor told me that reoccurance rate was exactly the same between the two procedures. It was not an easy decision to make and I am currently going through 6 rounds of chemo which will than be followed by 7 weeks of radation and hormone therapy after that. I am 42 years old and feel the choice I made was what was best for me in the end.
You need to really talk to your doctor and do lots of research on all possible choices but in the end you need to do what is best for you . I know right now it might seem impossible to do and it will be the hardest decision you will every have to make but know in the end that what you chose will be the right choice and you will be fine.
I wish you all the best. Keep us update and if you need anything at all we are here for you.

Hugs Christine

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2012

Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to hear what others decide and why. I appreciate the support.

Posts: 42
Joined: Oct 2012

I was where you are a month ago, unlike you I had no family history, I also had IDC but knowing myself the way I do, I could not rest knowing that my other breast could and most likely would develope something, I'm sure i would worry the warts off of it if I had decided to leave it, a very honest talk with my husband of 38 yrs and my surgeon I elected to have a double, for me it was easiest in my mind to be rid of it and get it out then worry about whittling it away, my oncotype score was 13 so i don 't have to have chemo or rad, just taking arimidex at this stage, don't let anyone tell you that the surgery is easy its been a month and im not healing well, being diabetic is not helping that, a friends mother was telling me before my surgery how she had a double and was up making thanksgiving dinner the next weekend by her self and she was just in her late 50's, well I did not get any of those super genes!!!! The surgery hurts and recovery is slow BUT i have confidence that my chance of recurrence is low and that i will in time be better and back in control of my life, its is truly a personal decision and journey, I just wanted to know that i did all that i could do to get rid of and keep cancer at bay, so that was how i decided on bilateral mastectomy, God bless your decision and God bless your family, i will be watching for you and praying for you. bid hugs jan

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2012

I really appreciate you sharing. I am waffling back and forth between the lumpectomy and the bilateral every other hour I think. Hearing about others' decisions helps.

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2012

I really appreciate you sharing. I am waffling back and forth between the lumpectomy and the bilateral every other hour I think. Hearing about others' decisions helps.

Posts: 1521
Joined: Jan 2010

3 yrs ago. My surgeon said lumpectomy and that's what I had, although I signed a release for a mastectomy just in case. I have no family history and my Onco dx score was low. So I had radiation am now halfway thru Arimidex.

We all have to choose what's best for ourselves, I just wanted to tell you what I chose.


Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2012

Have you experienced any nasty side effects from either the radiation or the med?

Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

I had a lumpectomy, followed by rads. I am very thankful that I could have the lumpectomy. I didn't burn during rads, but, did get uncomfortable and very pink. But, I am doing great now. I wish you the best in your decision.

salls41's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

dx with triple negative IDC. I chose to have both breasts removed. I know myself well enough to know I would have been checking myself 25 times a day for a new lump... it is a very hard choise to make, very personal but I am happy with my decision. I wanted immediate reconstruction and had my expanders put in at the time of my mastectomy but I had to have them removed prior to completion due to complications. But most have alot of success with reconstruction!

Posts: 992
Joined: Sep 2009

My tumor was 1.8 cm. I also had radiation and have been on Arimidex for 3 years. None of the treatments were as bad as I expected. I am lucky that I have no obvious side effects from Arimidex. That was my big concern based on what others posted. Everyone is different. Hugs.


Posts: 6562
Joined: Oct 2010

I had lumpectomy and radiation 4 12 hrs go! Started my 5th year of tamoxifen>


Tux's picture
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2009

I had lumpectomy & rads; am now 3 1/2 yrs out & am on tamoxifen.
I missed no work for the rads (my schedule was rearranged).
Had minimal side effects, most temporary. The doctor really
gave me no choice, but I am glad I did this. I have a friend
who had it at the same time, with high incidence of BC in
her family, who opted for double mastectomy & no reconstruction.
She is also comfortable with her decision.

I think it is up to each person; we will support you no matter
what you decide to do. Wishing you the best...

jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Sending lots of good luck and cyber hugs for your upcoming surgery.

Hugs, Leeza

Posts: 3644
Joined: Aug 2009

You didn't say what type or ER/PR/HER2 +/- you are. That all comes into play with TX. What are your Drs suggesting?

Remember - no matter what you choose there is no guarantee that you will never be totally free of the possibility of a recurrance - there ish no cure but we can be NED (No Evidence of Disease).

I can only speak for myself - I'm IBC (ER+/PR-/HER2-). I did neo-adjuvant A/C, mod. rad. mast., Taxol, rads and HT since. Doing rads was not bad at all but I burned very bad after them. Have been on Femara/letrozole since early Feb., '10 with no SE's from it.

There is no "One size fits all" when it comes to cancer. There are so many variables. I can't remember any of the other IBCers here having the same TX schedule that I had - we are each unique and our Drs are different in how they want totreat us.

Talk to your Drs (surgeon/chemo/rads). They have your info and can give you info.

Winyan - The Power Within


Posts: 250
Joined: Nov 2011

I also had a small cancer tumor . . .1.2 cm . . . I had a lumpectomy, which wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, radiation was just a few mins. a day under a machine for me, no pain or burning for me, but others have, . . . now on tamoxifin for almost a year, some side effects such as hot flashes and some muscle or joint pain . . . but I've learned to live with that . . .there is always a chance of recurrence, no matter what plan you have, but I don't think about that much any more . . . . clear mammograms now for over a year . . . and almost down to having them once a year like before . .

Each cancer type and person is individual . . . if the biopsy is not hormone positive, you most likely will not have to do hormone therapy . . . also there are totally different treatment plans and only you can make that decision . . .good luck and I'm sure your choice will be the one that is right for you . . . ask the drs. lots and lots of questions and take notes . . .
Sue D.

ladyg's picture
Posts: 1577
Joined: Apr 2010

I was in the same situation. The surgeon said that I could have either but he did not think I really needed to do the mastectomy so I went with the lumpectomy. I do not regret that decision. The radiation was not too bad as far as burning was concerned but it did cause me excessive fatigue. I am currently on Femera (2 yrs.) and have not side effects from it.
The choice is totally yours and you need to do what is right for you.


Posts: 191
Joined: Jun 2012

Hormone therapy depends on the ER/PR status. It won't matter if you have a mastectomy or lumpectomy. I first had a lumpectomy but my margins weren't clear, so I went back and had a unilateral mastectomy. My oncotype score was low so no chemo. However, I did have a small tumor in 1 lymph node, so I had radiation even tho I had a mastectomy. If you're pre-menopausal and have lymph node involvement, it usually means chemo. Since I was post-menopausal, I was "allowed" a small lymph node involvement with a low score to avoid chemo.

In summary, each treatment is dependent on the pathology. Hope this helps.


Lynn Smith
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mar 2011

I didn't need chemo or radiation.Stage 0.I had a lumpectomy.Probably though if it had been Stage 1 I would have done a lumpectomy also.My friends both had Stage 3 cancer.I wasn't sure about their decision on the lumpectomy.After they talked with their doctors they were told not alot of difference in life span. I didn't feel that way at the time of their dx.One had bc 18 years year ago(Stage 3 lumpectomy).She is fine today.Same with the other.She had a lumpectomy Stage 3 fast growing) and she is fine today after 7 years dx. Also I might add both had lymph nodes involved.

It's a hard decision but I think with your dx a lumpectomy would OK.

Lynn Smith

Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2012

Thanks everyone for all of your comments and support. I have decided to go with the bilateral mastectomy. After a lot of studying and thinking and reading all your comments, I finally got out of my head and into my heart and the only thing that feels right to me is the bilateral. So, on the 19th of Nov. I go in.
Thank again and bless you all for sharing.

Posts: 42
Joined: Oct 2012

i will be praying for you, you sound more assured and at peace with your decision, thats how you know for you its right, good luck!

jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

I am glad you made your decision. We will be with you on the 19th supporting you!

Good luck,


DianeBC's picture
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

Good luck Alalicia! I am praying for you!

Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2012

and immediately opted for a bi-lateral. I have not regretted it. Didn't feel like walking around with a time bomb on my body!

DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Wishing you lots of luck on the 19th!

Hugs, Debby

Posts: 579
Joined: Dec 2010

Good for you. Not an easy decision to make whether being advised just to have lumpectomy and still hard to accept when told to have mastectomy. I did because had to and glad went down that path.

My story was bad luck and good luck.

Yes had cancer in one side but another area looked suspicious so mastectomy. Then told didn't need mastectomy as the second area was a false positive. So one breast gone and the other reduced at the same time of breast removal to match up in size. Low and behold the material reduced was sent away just incase the good breast had hidden probs and it did.

So didn't need first mastectomy but because I did other side was found and would not have been pfound for years because my type isn't picked up by mammo and was in early stages.

Sorry to go. We are all with different stories. Good luck with your operation. Please ask for any advice needed.

We are here for you.

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

I think you need to go with your gut. Factors to take into consideration include, risk for recurrence, do you have a family history? dense breasts that make it difficult to detect breast cancer, large breasts that make it more difficult to predict breast cancer? positive gene? it would not be unreasoanble to have a lumpectomy, I am fair skinned and did fine with rads, but the time factor involved is a pain. you have Dcis? but you are in good shape with grade 1 teeny tumor. but it depends on how you feel about the chance of recurrence in your current affected breast or the other one, and how you deal with the uncertainty and having to deal with mammos, which are so anxiety provoking. So many things determine your decision, your temperment, how you feel about losing your breasts. To methere is no right or wrong in this case, its how you want to move forward.

Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

Praying for a successful surgery for you and a fast recovery!

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

I never struggled with my treatment as a lumpectomy with rads was what my onco recommended for me. I don't think I could have faced losing my breasts. The rads weren't easy, but, I got thru them.

Good luck and keep us updated as to how you are.

Hugs, Lex

LoveBabyJesus's picture
Posts: 1680
Joined: Jan 2011

I am sorry you have to be faced with such decision. I pray you make the correct one for YOU. It is a very personal decision that only you can make and feel comfortable with.

I too was faced with the same dilemma. I was dx at 32. However, I decided for a lumpectomy. Do I regret it? Sometimes. Why? Because I am very young. I find I have anxiety with my breasts, and always wonder what if. Some people are lucky and just go through their lives getting tests and never have to have biopsies again, which is a blessing. The problem with this type of cancer is that the chances of developing the same OR NEW cancers go up as you get older. So for me, my chances will increase because of my age. But also I may never get it. There are no guarantees. The good thing about mastectomy is that you cut down your chances of developing NEW cancers by at least 95%, and that is important for someone who is as young as me. Now, the good thing is that I can always have the mastectomy, perhaps in a few years. Once you get a mastectomy, you can't go back. But in general, everyone has been satisfied/happy about such decision, because at the end of the day, it is done to save your life, in the long-term. As others mentioned, you get the same results with either surgery for your CURRENT cancer. No difference there.

I hope you are at peace with whatever decision you make. There's a tradeoff for each.


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