• now considering a prophylactic mastectomy for my other breast. OK with that, but not certain if reconstruction for both breasts is worth it.

    Asked by Paprika on Monday, November 5, 2012

    now considering a prophylactic mastectomy for my other breast. OK with that, but not certain if reconstruction for both breasts is worth it.

    comments from other breast cancer women who are old enough that bikini top days are behind us....

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • leepenn's Avatar

      i went with flat, and i love it.
      my bikini days are not behind me, but i totally DO NOT MIND being flat.
      in fact, it's kind of awesome.
      somehow, it takes me 1/2 the time to get dressed - don't really understand that, since we're talking about one piece of clothing... but there it is.

      i do, however, miss my nipples. alas.

      i had a decent amount of real estate, if you will... and i'm an athlete. being flat is ... well... peachy.

      in clothing, no one seems to notice. if they do, they are at least polite enough to never say a word.

      i know so many people who have had trouble with recon. and, it's a minimum of two surgeries... i was not cool with that...

      lastly - symmetry was important to me... and i had triple negative cancer, so i really wanted to minimize my recurrence risk... and avoid radiation.

      it's such a personal decision. i hope you are able to make a decision and feel peace around that decision.

      for me, going flat has totally and absolutely been the right call. i have zero regrets with that decision.

      good luck.
      ps - i'm happy to talk about this more, if you want... just zip me off one of those requests for email thingies...

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I had a bilat at the time of initial surgery and did recon....I've thought many times, it I should have done recon or not...its 4+ years since my last revision.....I do like not having to wear a bra....if I didn't do recon, I don't think i would wear a prosthesis....my implants are small, 200cc so I look like a small chested woman which is just fine with me....bikini days were gone long before Dx.....my boobs are not (and were not) a part of my identity since puberty!!!!! all the best to you

      almost 4 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Hi Paprika. I had a bilateral mastectomy and I am glad I did. I could not have immediate reconstruction because I needed radiation first. It has been 4 1/2 years since surgery and now, at 62, I am thinking about maybe having reconstruction next summer when I am not working. I am not crazy about how my chest looks when I am not dressed. When I have clothes on, I am glad for the symmetry, never wear prostheses, and only sometimes feel self-conscious about being flat. I really vacillate between the plus and minus sides of reconstruction. I am a wimp about the surgery involved.

      almost 4 years ago
    • CountryGirl's Avatar

      I'm 43. Double mastectomy two years ago. Like, Lynn I did radiation first, then decided against reconstruction. I do wear prosthesis to work. I don't think I'll ever get reconstruction. Shopping for swimsuits is the hardest part. I will talk more through email if you want.

      almost 4 years ago
    • savingrace's Avatar

      Paprika, that is a decision that takes a lot of thought. I had a mactectomy and wore prostehesis for 5 years. Bikini days were gone long before the surgery and I wasn't blessed to be well endowed but looking in the mirror and seeing one flat side didn't make me feel good, so after 5 years I decided to do reconstruction. I did a lot of research and talking to others and decided to have the tran flap, where they took the tissues from my stomach and made the breast. I had a great surgeon and I have not regretted it once. The best move I could have made.
      Because everyone has different feelings, you need to be completely comfortable with what you decide to do. Good luck on your decision.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      I had immediate reconstruction w/expanders and don't regret my decision. I never had a bikini body and never had great affection for my breasts, but I wanted something there. Clothes fit a little better and I feel a little better. It is all about you and what YOU feel.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Lindy's Avatar

      You are certainly in the right state for optimal care. Love your U of W tumor team. Yes, yes, yes! Reconstruction (if you are a good candidate) is worth it. It wasn't a good choice for me due to my prognosis, excessive lymph node removal...etc. It is difficult to wear a prostheses as not being under the skin, it is a free agent. I had my first one (a beeny baby jelly fish minus the tentacies, sorry Sponge Bob) show up quite unexpected while having lunch in public. It took me two years to actually touch my pleated scar (I used a soft paintbrush to bath the area). I am very limited in clothing choices, high scar means no tank tops, gaping necks. Lymphedema means no bra/prosthesis except perhaps a Presidential visit. I look for confuse an eye things, high necked, loose, patterned, ruffled, pleated. Sort of elder maternity wear. I have lost my sense of shape, so much for Look Better, Feel Better. So, YES. Do look at plastic surgery sites, plastic surgeons are ego meisters, like to show off their better than nature accomplishments. If you have friends who have had the surgery, ask about their results. A woman in California actually showed me her results and I was amazed at how natural it looked. Not the norm in my opinion. Get the best for you.

      almost 4 years ago
    • lilnursey's Avatar

      I had a double mastectomy also (rt side prophylactilly) I did not think I would have reconstruction but then changed my mind because I found that I had to be careful in what ever I bought because even with a modest neckline to shirt would pull out and you would be able to see the prosthesis. So I made the decision to have reconstruction. ( although I often think how fun it would have been to have several different size size prosthesis and have a different pair each day) what ever you decide I am sure it will be the best decision for you

      almost 4 years ago
    • Miriam's Avatar

      What a timely question. I am considering doing the same thing right after the first of the year. I had a expander placed right after my (R) mastectomy but it had to be removed due to a sponge left in during the procedure. It got infected..long story. Anyway, due to the genetic nature of my cancer, Medullary CA, I think removing the other breast is a good idea. I really don't care if I have breasts or not but clothes will look so much better. Originally I was fitted with a prostectic breast that inserted into a bra. It was very uncomfortable and heavy so I just use "stuffing" in a cloth form. The decision you face is a big one. Do what you feel is best for you. Good Luck.

      almost 4 years ago
    • busymom0413's Avatar

      I had a prophylactic mastectomy (left) right side was cancer in November 2011. I had immediate tissue expanders. I am now 4 weeks post op since my permanent silicon implants. I do not regret one minute of it. I hated the TE's they were quite uncomfortable. I wore swim suit and no one could really tell other than they looked like teenage boobs, very firm and high. They did not look normal or feel normal. The implant is so much better. No they are not normal but they look grea with clothes and look pretty good without. This is a personal decision. I always knew I would have reconstruction and did not give it a second thought. To me it was worth it and it is a long process. I am now waiting until I can have my nipple created. Yes it is another surgery but I am so amazed at the whole process I cannot wait to see them all done. Good luck with your decision.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Funny story....well sort of.

      I had bilateral with one being prophylactic. I wanted to be flat and I wanted to be even. A couple of days after the bilateral, the surgeon called me and said path report didn't show clear margins and I would have to have more surgery to have more skin removed (I had inflammatory breast cancer). After the additional surgery, there was not enough skin left to close the wound, so a plastic surgeon had to do a 1/2 tummy tuck (just one side) to create a flap to cover the wound on one side of my chest. So even though I didn't want reconstruction, I had to have it for medical reasons. So as of now, I have the right side of my abdomen (complete with belly button) attached to left side of my chest while the right side of chest is flat. Add to that that the right side of my abdomen is flat while the left side still has it's old belly fat. Anything but even!

      But to answer your question, I still wouldn't want reconstruction. Everyone I have ever talk to about reconstruction has been less that completely satisfied. At best they still weren't even and at worst they went through a lot of pain and "redos". But, if you are going to do reconstruction, I would think it would better to do both rather than just one. The people who seem most dissatisfied are the one that had a single mastectomy with recon because the recon breast was very different from there natural breast and even if they looked the same in the beginning, even small amounts of aging, weight changes, etc. will affect the natural breast but not the recon one, so eventually they will always be uneven.

      almost 4 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar

      2 years ago I had double mastectomy without reconstruction and I am SO happy I chose to avoid more surgery and/or complications, recovery time, limited range-of-motion, etc. What works for me is to wear the prostheses they call "recreational" which are just foam, not weighted, and don't try to fall forward when I lean over. I wear them all the time during the day and they've lasted just fine. They don't need to be washed everyday like salespeople will tell you (I wash mine every 2 or 3 weeks) and the material doesn't break down as the salesperson said it would; it's been 2 years and shows now wear at all and I'm very active.
      Say, if you're "Paprika" because you're Hungarian, I am too, 50%. :-)

      almost 4 years ago

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