• Important decision to make by noon tomorrow (3/1/13)

    Asked by fiddler on Friday, March 1, 2013

    Important decision to make by noon tomorrow (3/1/13)

    Option #1: chemo/rads/enlarged heart - over 9 months with great suffering
    Option #2: double mastectomy and get it over with with less suffering
    Stage 1A, triple negative, no node involvement
    Need to hear pros and cons of mastectomy. Thank you! ! ! !

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I had bilat...but I also needed to have chemo and rads.....for me the surgery was the easiest part.....I had bilat with TE then exchange for silicone implants....do they look like real boobs when I'm nakes....no...but do I look good in clothes when I'm dressed....yes....can you tell in clothes that these aren't the original packaging...no...I look like a small chested middle age woman....which I was before Dx.... I was not a candidate for lumpectomy, so my only choice was single or bilat mastectomy....I've never regretted doing the bilat and tomorrow is 7 years since my surgery.....
      The way you wrote the above, it seems like you've made your decision!!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      There are some chemotherapys that are cardiotoxic over time and it might be wiser to go surgically however, your stage is 1A. You might not require intense regimens. You might want to ask your doc what chemo is being considered. Something akin to doxorubicin liposomal should be avoided because you will need a baseline cardio ejection fraction to monitor for cardiomyopathy, but there are gentler therapies. Surgery might be better but then there are CV risks associated as well if you have a history of cardiac disease. Let your oncologist direct the best possible choice and make sure your oncologist consults your cardiologist. Good luck, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      I didn't have cardio issues to complicate the situation. I chose bi-lateral mastectomy with tissue expanders followed by chemo. No node involvement so I was spared radiation. I wanted to be aggressive vs. my triple negative cancer; I chose that route for my peace of mind. My doctors told me mastectomy over lumpectomy didn't increase my chances for long-term survival, but in my mind, somehow it did. My parents died of inoperable cancers, so no doubt, their siutations played a role in my decision, too. I am sixteen months past my surgery, and I have never had a regret. It isn't an easy surgery and there are many appointments afterwards for reconstruction, but, for me, it was worth it. Life is back to "normal"...and forward we go! I know decision making can be very difficult. If you are unsure, get second opinions from the professionals, and always ask your questions until YOU are satisfied. Good luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar

      I had double mastectomy and chemo. If I could choose between those two, hands down - no doubt - I would choose only the surgery. Chemo is tough on your body and changes you permanently. Do doubt in my mind what-so-ever. If you don't need chemo, don't do it. Surgery changes you premanently, but not in such a systemic fashion...

      OK - so, that's my immediate strong response up there...

      Pros - surgery only? Awesome! Faster recovery... CON You do lose your breasts, but PRO I gotta tell you, being flat is just fine. In fact, I like not having boobs in the way of getting things done and so on. I do (CON CON) miss my nipples.

      You can opt for recon; that will extend your recovery time substantially. Without recon, the incisions involve no muscle. Will you have a sentinel node biopsy? This will make your body feel weird under your arm and around your should.... With recon, you'll have muscle incision... and that means things hurt more and take longer to heal....

      Keep in mind that pathology results might slightly change your treatment plan....

      I hope this helps. And I wish you peace around whatever decision you make.

      Hugs and best wishes,

      over 3 years ago
    • SMeridith's Avatar

      I too was diagnosed with triple negative 1A as well as Her2. I did not lymph node involvement, but didn't know that until after my surgery. My doctor did not give me the option of NOT having a double mastectomy so that made my decision easier. I am so glad I did the surgery. I had expanders and then implants later. As someone else said, you have a lot of doctor's appointments, but I felt they were all worth it. My breasts will never be the same but I feel much better for having done the surgery. In the grand scheme of things it was not nearly as hard as the chemo. I had six rounds of chemo that included Herceptin for the HER2...that caused injection fraction for me as well so had to stop it 8 months into a 12 month cycle. My oncologist felt I had had enough and was more concerned about the heart. The other meds did not seem to cause the problem with the ejection fraction...just the Herceptin. I did not have radiation.
      Just be sure your oncologist and cardiologist are working hand in hand. That makes all the difference
      It has been 18 months since I had my surgery and although it is still real, it also seems like a distant memory and my life is getting back to normal. I wish you good luck as you continue this journey....this too shall pass!

      over 3 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      The bilateral mastecomy with reconstruction is a good choice. I had one mastecomy and sort of wish looking back that I'd just done both. Although there is still absolutely nothing in my other breast, trying to get them even is going to require more surgery. If you are considering, look at all of the options for reconstruction. Also, it may be too early to tell that no nodes are involved. I don't mean to scare you, but this happened to me. Before surgery, they inject a dye.. it will light up sentinel nodes. I had 2 light up, and under the microscope during surgery still did not show any involvement. Final pathology indicated that one of the 2 had some, although clear margins. I had to have both chemo and radiation. Until the surgery and final pathology comes back, I've not heard of any test that can confirm no node involvement...prior to making the decision on mastectomy, I had 3 biopsies (only one spot had cancer) from what they saw in mammo and ultrasound, then an MRI that showed other spots,, but no nodes so I thought the same thing. It was quite a shock to me that the final pathology did show a few more areas with cancer and the 1 node.

      over 3 years ago
    • barbaraanne's Avatar

      I am triple negative stage 1, no lymph nodes involved either. I had a lumpectomy and another surgery to clean the margins, when they were sure it was TN. I had 4 chemo treatments thru vain in hand. Meds were Cyclophosphamide & Docetaxel. A bit tough w/aches & pains after the 2nd treatments, and had heart palpitations that evening (partially from nerves) did not require any med attention. Hives after the 3rd treatment. Lost my after after 1st treatment, but I never lost my appetite or got nausea. I am waiting to see the onc and to move onto radiation treatment. With the heart issue, it's very important they/u take it into consideration, to not make it worse. Best of luck to you..

      over 3 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      For me I would have kept my breast if I could (had a bilateral mastectomy).

      I say this as it involves multiple surgery, and even with good outcomes the plastic surgery results are not all that. I was also happy with how my original breasts looked, so not sure how someone who's no longer pleased with their breasts would feel.

      There's also arm movement loss, in my case all resolved.

      Hope you make the best decision for you.

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I don't understand why you seem to have a hard deadline for this major decision. If you dont have all the facts you need you need more time, possibly a second opinion. You don't mention if the oncologist has given you prognostic reasons for choosing one treatment over the other, never mind which one might be the hardest to bear. Which one gives you better survival chances? Also, what are the chances you would need some surgery after chemo anyway? Or some heart toxic drugs after surgery?

      over 3 years ago
    • nonnie917's Avatar

      Hi. I would opt for option #2. Why? Because why spend the rest of your life wondering and worrying whether or not that cancer is going to come back. When I had my mammogram done they found two ductal areas that were suspicious so they did the biopsy. Both where DCIS (non infiltrating). However when I saw my surgeon he noticed that the radiologist missed a spot so totally away from the other two areas I don't know how he could have missed it except he just wasn't paying attention. So my surgeon ordered an MRI. I am so glad he did because the left breast had to clusters that did not show up on my mammogram and that is why I opted to have them both removed and replaced with my lower belly fat. I still have to get implants because even though I am a large framed and slightly overweight woman there wasn't enough fat to make me a C or D cup. I feel that I made the right decision concerning myself. I don't have to worry about cancer hiding anywhere because they got it all with the double mast. It is however, a personal decision and one that only you can make, but I hope that my experiences have helped you some in your thinking? Good Luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • thil2633's Avatar

      What did you decide? I recently wrote a blog on Triple Negative, that I will share. I had the dbl, chemo and waiting to do my reconstruction now. I was stage 2b and luckily had no node involvement either. I am happy with my decision to do the dbl. I want my chances of a reoccurance to be as low as possible. http://adventuresoftraci.blogspot.com/

      over 3 years ago

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