• How to choose which surgery.

    Asked by 4Boysmom on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

    How to choose which surgery.

    I’m considering a bilateral mastectomy over a lumpectomy. I’d like to here your experience on both. My cancer is on the left breast but my concern is there is something on the right that my Dr has been watching for ten years.. I also have very dense breast. Thank you.

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      While some of the ladies are finding this to give you some feedback, here is an article we wrote a few years back that has some first-hand experiences of some of our Community. Maybe this will help a little.

      8 months ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      I have no personal experience with breast cancer.

      My gf Andy did. She simply said "Take them both. My husband is an a$$ man." She is quite a pistol.

      I wish you a great outcome, no matter how you decide.

      8 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      I was in such a state when getting the diagnosis of breast cancer that I just went with what the surgeon said. It was a lumpectomy (and then a second one two weeks later to get clear margins) for me. She had said they would try the lumpectomy, chemo and radiation and I just went with it. No second opinions or questions.
      But it's up to you. If the doc has been watching something for ten years, it may never grow. That seems like a long time just to watch something.
      Recovery from the lumpectomy is generally much less than a bilateral mastectomy. It's at least a six week recovery. No driving, lifting, etc.
      I would talk to the doctor and see what they say. Also, a second opinion might be good when things are so puzzling. Good luck in whatever you decide. Hugs.

      8 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar

      My experience is similar to cllinda's, except that my re-excision was a month after my lumpectomy, not two weeks. I went with my breast surgeon's recommendation, as I trusted her completely. Since you aren't sure, I agree with cllinda's suggestion that you seek a second opinion.

      If you do opt for a lumpectomy and continue to have mammograms, be sure that along with each mammogram, you have either a bi-lateral breast ultrasound each time or breast MRI. These additional tests are essential for women with dense breasts.

      Wishing you all the best -

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      I would discuss with the oncologist and only do what he recommends based on your medical records. Oncologists have many years of medical education and experience, plus access to your medical records and the latest research on cancer. Side effects and complications later in life are much easier with a lumpectomy.

      Ask your oncologist for statistics on recurrence if you have a lumpectomy versus a mastectomy, versus a double mastectomy, and then ask what he would recommend to his family member. You'll know the answer then.

      People can usually return to work or regular activity within a week or less with a lumpectomy, i.e., not a huge deal. I've had two at different times and never regretted my decisions. My doctor said a mastectomy would be overkill (for me)---no need to make major problems when there are none. . . . Best wishes.

      8 months ago
    • Helayne411's Avatar

      I had a double mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction immediately during the same surgery. Initially we thought a lumpectomy was the recommended protocol but then additional cancer was found in the left breast. DIEP flap uses your own fatty abdominal tissue to form new breasts. The oncologist removes the underlying breast tissue and the pocket is filled by a plastic surgeon with the abdominal tissue like a tummy tuck. The nipple is spared. It’s been 7 weeks and I look and feel great. I have natural looking breasts and a flat abdomen. This procedure made a world of difference to me physically, psychologically and emotionally because I was never without breasts. Everyone has a different attitude about their body, but this was my priority. My next step is chemo beginning 8/22. Good luck with whatever you choose.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Remember we go to doctors because they are the experts---we're not doctors. Let your doctor advise you.

      8 months ago
    • msesq's Avatar

      I had two lumpectomies to get clean margins on my HERS2+ breast cancer. I think lumpectomy vs mastectomy is a very personal decision each person has to make for herself. On the positive side I avoided major surgery and reconstruction, my body remains intact and my scar is barely noticeable. On the negative side I could worry about cancer returning like a sword of Damocles hanging over my head. I did lots of research, asked lots of questions and saw pictures of reconstructed breasts. I decided to keep my own body parts and am happy with my decision. I suppose if I was anxious or a worrier mastectomy might have been the right answer. Weigh your options and pick what is right for you.

      8 months ago
    • msesq's Avatar
    • MLT's Avatar

      Yes, a 2nd opinion is a good idea. Always ask what the Dr would do if it was his/her mother, wife, daughter. Best way to get a true, from the gut, answer. I have prayed hard when it has come to these decisions about surgery and where to get treatment. I have been at peace with my decisions.
      Wishing you the best!

      8 months ago
    • Dltmoll's Avatar

      I was advised to have a lumpectomy as outcomes are similar. However, I too have very dense breast tissue and since then have gone through a worrisome four months when an MRI showed "something" on the other side that resolved itself according to the follow-up MRI that four months later. I also just had a biopsy of a hamartoma on the original side that turned out to be benign.
      In my case insurance was a factor, but I do wonder if it will come to a double mastectomy at some point. As others have advised, get a second opinion and consider what you're willing to live with.

      8 months ago
    • Mo2teach's Avatar

      I was in a similar situation when I was diagnosed. When it turned out that the tumor was too large to do a lumpectomy, I was told that a mastectomy would be the only option. The cancer was in my right breast, but two years prior, I had a scare that there was a tumor in my left breast. My breasts were large and dense and mammograms always resulted in extra tests and anxiety. Once I knew that I was going to lose my right breast, I decided without reservations that I would just have a bi-lateral mastectomy. It just seemed to make sense to me. I wanted to lessen the chance that a tumor would be discovered on the left side. And, as odd as it may sound to some, I wanted symmetry. I did what I felt was best for me, considering my circumstances. I am very comfortable with my choice, and, for the first time since puberty, I can wear a button down shirt without gaping in the front! Always look for the silver lining and keep your sense of humor! I wish you good health and happiness!

      8 months ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Listen to your doctors - they are the experts. Then listen to your heart. It is an expert, too. My surgeon was an optimist and recommended a lumpectomy. What she didn't know was that my bc was more advanced than predicted and a lumpectomy would have left me disfigured and lopsided. I opted for a bilateral mastectomy, because one round of surgery was more than enough for me. It is ten years post-surgery and I have never regretted my decision.

      8 months ago
    • banditwalker's Avatar

      I wanted the bilateral. At 57 I did not use them anymore. And they were always big and bothersome. I love my new "girls" and I don't have to worry about cancer in the other breast. And like Mo2teach, I didn't see the sense in taking just one off.

      8 months ago
    • Yeahyeah's Avatar

      Do research on the survival rate and occurrence comparisons between a double mastectomy and lumpectomy. That is what I did and then made a choice after consulting with the breast surgeon and not necessarily the medical oncologist. In my case, there was cancer in both breasts.

      8 months ago

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