Advice on which route to take please?

Hi, this is my first post so hopefully someone will tell me if I am in the wrong place - it is about my family history and how this has suddenly become relevant to me.

My mother, grandmother and aunt all had breast cancer, my mum died 21 years ago. I also have two cousins on my maternal side with the diagnosis and one cousin has a daughter with it.

We have had genetic testing but none of us share the BRCA 1 or 2 gene. We will also be tested as new relevant genes are discovered.

I have recently been offered either screening (yearly mammogram) chemo-prevention with Tamoxifen or similar or the option the surgeon is strongly advising - a bi-lateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.

I took part in the MARIBS project and heard recently that an MRI can show up early cancer three years in advance of it becoming a problem - but is it possible to have MRI’s as well/instead of a mammogram?

I would really appreciate any advice from people in a similar situation, or someone who has made the choice and how they made the choice.

I thought I had come to a decision (the op) but I keep wondering if I am doing the right thing. I’m aware that most people facing the op would not have a choice, but is there a point in waiting? The surgeon seems to think that it’s more a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ something develops

I am 52 and to be honest I never used to even think about BC until I reached the age my mum was when diagnosed, since then I find it is often niggling away at the back of my mind.

I feel awful actually asking this question in a forum where so many people area having to cope with cancer, but I didn’t honestly know where else to go.


Dear Servalan,

I am sure you will soon get a lot of support from others on this forum.

Don’t forget you can also phone our free, confidential Helpline to talk this through. They are there for information and support. They are open 9.00am- 5.00pm on weekdays and 9.00am-2.00pm on Saturdays. The number is 0808 800 6000

kindest regards

BCC Facilitator

Hi my family history is similar to yours but i was diagnosed with bc in march this year age 45,my sister has just been diagnosed in september,my mum 2 of her sisters,their mum and sister and my great great grandma plus cousin on maternal side. I got my genetic results on 26th sep i dont have the braca1 or 2 gene either, they are now testing my sister.Even though they didnt find a gene fault my consultant has told me to seriously think of having my healthy breast off sooner rather than later. I have decided that i am going to have the mastectomy with reconstruction and my consultant has put me on the waiting list.My mum,gran and grt gran all died of bc in there 40s,my 20yr old daughter is also wanting a double mastectomy but hasnt seen any one about that yet.For me i think is the right route to take as i dont want to go through being tolk i have cancer again and having chemoagain.Everyone is different and it is only you that can decide what is best but i want to live to see any future gran kids grow up.
goog luck with what ever you decide julie

Thank you so much for the replies - it does help, especially hearing from another in a similar situation.

I am currently waiting for the breast care nurse to get in touch as, according to the surgeon I should have seen her first and been given the chance to look at some DVDs on surgical results. This means that I can’t go on the waiting list for the op until I’ve been ‘processed’ correctly (LOL) and seen the DVDs. Unfortunately I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait as the staff nurse on the clinic told me they only take very small groups (around four at a time) to look at the DVDs.

Knowing my luck I’ll be lost in the system (it’s happened before, more than once).

I was given counciling as they call it,it was just me and the breast care nurse she also asked if i would like to meet someone else who had had the same op but i was happy with just the dvd and her explaining everything to me.With me it all happened very quickly ie.2 weeks after my diagnosis i had my surgery. Hope you dont have to long to wait. julie

Hello Servalan

I’m not in the same situation as you, but please don’t take no for answer. Don’t allow them to lose you in the system.
Best wishes
Anthi x