I was 53 when diagnosed. It is a very difficult decision to make, whether to have a mastectomy or not if you are given the option. I had fibrocystic breast disease. This makes your breasts lumpy and hard to detect if there is anything suspicious. I had mammograms every year. A mammogram showed two suspicious areas that had to be biopsied. The result was infiltrating lobular carcinoma. The oncological breast surgeon told me I would need a mastectomy. He asked if I wanted bi-lateral mastectomies. I didn't know what to do. He urged me to get the BRCA test to help with my decision. Since it was negative, I decided not to take the other breast and my surgeon was fine with that decision. An MRI before surgery showed another area in the same breast, larger than the other two and the breast surgeon had not even felt it. The MRI stated that the other breast had no suspicious findings. I had the one mastectomy and the final pathology report put me at stage IIB. I had LCIS, DCIS, infiltrating lobular carcinoma and two of the tumors were HER2 negative and the larger one was HER2 positive. The sentinel lymph node was cancerous so the surgeon took all of them.....18. I have mild lymphedema as a result.
6 months later, a mammogram of the remaining side showed a suspicious area. I had a needle core biopsy, stereotactic biopsy and a surgical biopsy. The pathology report came back as LCIS. Why didn't the MRI or mammogram 6 months ago show anything? Was it there but too little? Did the scans miss it???? I did not want to have to go through all this again and have the possibility of cancer spreading to my lymph nodes on that side, so I had the surgeon do a mastectomy on the remaining breast.
Before my first mastectomy, since I was going to need radiation, my breast surgeon and the plastic surgeon I consulted told me it was not a good idea to have implants before receiving radiation treatment. I'm glad I did not go through getting an expander. I really don't want implants as 10-15 years later the implants need to be exchanged plus I am not crazy about having a foreign substance in my body. Implants have been great for many women and there is certainly nothing wrong with doing reconstruction that way if that is what you want. Since having my first mastectomy I found out about diep flap reconstruction. I am scheduled for diep flap reconstruction in two weeks.
My best to you. You are doing right by asking for the experience of others so you can make an informed decision.