Breast reduction in my healthy breast

Hi, I am new to Breast Cancer Now because I am new to breast cancer! I have a lumpectomy booked for Thursday 18th and the nurse called me yesterday to say that I will be offered breast reduction in the other breast because I am a 32GG and there are two sites with cancer to remove so there will be a big difference post surgery. She could not explain much to me and said I should ask my questions in my appointment with the surgeons on Monday. That doesn’t seem long to make a decision though! (I know they wanted to raise this before Xmas but it was postponed).
Could anyone on this forum tell me if they have had the breast reduction/whether it was worth it/if they chose a partial prosthesis instead how that is for them? I am scared about the more complicated surgery and recovery but don’t want two surgeries if I decide later that I want a reduction after all, as I am concerned about repeat surgeries over 50 years old and the link to getting dementia. So I want to decide now/Monday. Apols for long message and thanks in advance!

2 Likes

Dear rosab, I hear your dilemma. There are no easy decisions. I cannot offer you experience of breast reduction as I took the opposite decision but thought that may also be of help…I too wanted to reduce risk of further ops so I opted for full mastectomy on my tumour side. The op lasted 3 hours, has healed well and I now wear a prosthesis which matches my remaining breast. I also avoided radiotherapy. I could have had lumpectomy but didn’t want to be left with a deformed breast nor to risk a second op if clear margins not obtained or lymph node involvement found. There is no way in a million years that I would have agreed to any surgery on my healthy breast. It is for me an erogenous zone and want it to remain so. Have you been offered reconstruction on your tumour side? Is this something you are considering? My understanding is that the tumour breast op may take some time to settle down so a reduction on the good side may match initially but not over time. Radiotherapy may also change the breast shape and appearance. If you are in any doubt about something its probably wise to listen to that inner voice. The main thing I have learned is that the right decision is the one that you are at peace with in your own heart. If you need more time then ask for it even if it means a short postponement. Ihope you receive many more replies to help you and wish you all the very best going forward. With love from Tulip x

2 Likes

Thanks Tulip. I did think of mastectomy but decided to go for lumpectomy instead, I don’t know if that was right but will see…
x

1 Like

Rosab :heart: sorry you find yourself here, I delayed levelling up surgery but wish I’d had it all done at same time rather than wait, just wanted to share my personal experience with you. You do what’s right for you and what you will feel comfortable with, do ask if they are giving you drain post op too :heart: some trusts do and some trusts don’t :heart: just a question you might not have thought of asking :heart::two_hearts::two_hearts::sparkles::sparkles:Shi xx

Thank you so much Shi. Couldn’t reply till now as visiting elderly mum and trying to manager her anxiety about me - that’s a whole different topic! When you had the levelling surgery what was the healing like, and is there much of a scar? I don’t know how long ago you had it but are you satisfied with the result and scarring? did you have a problem with infections with either surgery (double the risk if done at the same time). What was it like having a partial prosthesis before you had the levelling surgery? why did you decide to go for the levelling surgery? I’m guessing you are happy with the result but do you know anyone who has had a different experience? SORRY I’m inundating you with a million questions, hope you don’t mind and if it feels a bit intrusive don’t worry. Warm wishes, Sue - can’t get my emojis to work for some reason but I want to send hearts to both you and Tulip above for replying so honestly, and your good wishes. xxx

1 Like

At the time of diagnosis I just wanted the cancer out and that was all I was focused on. I had a therapeutic mammoplasty so wore trulife partials till I had levelling up surgery (which they sadly botched and I now wear an evenly bra balancer on my good boob now instead because they took too much boob away and botched it) I have to have further surgery to correct it now which is why I wish I’d just had it all done at the same time, the same surgeon would have done all in one go and my first surgery was amazing, sadly who’s done 2nd operation was not as skilful. I used aqueous cream both times on scars and thankfully barely visible :+1: you have a lot of decisions to make, make them for you no one else you, what you will feel comfortable with and what’s right for you :heart: get front button pj’s dressing gown, slides, and a zip cardi or hoody for post op :+1: take it steady post op no heavy lifting and do your post op exercises to get your range of movement back. I stuck sticky coloured dots up door frame so I could see my progress each day with one of the exercises :+1: helped make me feel I was achieving something post op :+1:hope that helps a bit and I’m sure others will share their experience too :heart::two_hearts::two_hearts::sparkles::sparkles:Shi xx

2 Likes

I’m so sorry to hear about your botched experience with the second surgery!!! it sounds absolutely horrible and I hope you are properly on the mend soon! It also makes me think of questions to ask my surgeons about risks/success rates. And great practical advice, thank you! can I just ask why you didn’t want to keep going with the trulife partials - did it just seem easier at the time to have them both adjusted to be more or less the same size? or are prosthetics difficult in themselves? Really appreciate your openess and kindness, time and generosity. Thank you! xxxxx

1 Like

I have gone with evenly now because Kate Taylor’s evenly product levels me up better than the Trulife one now, both products are excellent and once I’d found both products found them comfortable to wear, rather than the sponge like partial thing the nhs provided which wasn’t suitable for the therapeutic mammoplasty op I’d had. It is disappointing that my levelling up op was botched by nhs which is why I’ve shared this with you so it might help your decision, had my original surgeon done the whole procedure I might not have had someone else botch the levelling up operation which has now meant I need further corrective surgery. We each have our own experience with bc and we have to navigate each and every twist and turn that it tests and challenges us with :heart: bcn and everyone hear will always help, listen and understand so so keep asking and reaching out do you can make best choices for you :heart::two_hearts::two_hearts::sparkles::sparkles:Shi xx

1 Like

Hi,

I’m new here too. I have DD/E cup boobs and I had a double lumpectomy nearly 2 weeks ago. My second tumour (same boob) was discovered close to my planned operation date. Following an urgent MRI I was given the choice of delaying surgery in order to have a mastectomy or having a double lumpectomy on the planned date. I chose the latter on the understanding that any dramatic boob size difference would be dealt with at a later date, if necessary.

I have to say that my surgeon appears to have done a great job with the lumpectomy and I’m really pleased with the result. I appreciate that things might change due to some current swelling and the boob might shrink during radiotherapy but at the moment it is only slightly smaller than my other boob. I got it into my head that half of my boob would be removed or I would end up with huge dents. This hasn’t happened. I would point out that my tumours were small (9mm and 11mm) which could potentially make a difference and I haven’t had my surgery results yet.

Only you can make the decision but I wish you all the best. Stay positive x

1 Like

Hi @rosab

So sorry you find yourself in the club no one wants to be in. I can tell you my own experience - I had a mastectomy on the left breast and a reduction on the right on 30 Aug. On the reduction side there is a scar from just underneath the nipple down to the underside of the breast that meets a straight line scar going across underneath the breast. So the only scar visible is the one coming directly downwards below the nipple if that makes sense! Both scars have healed well and are beginning to lose the redness. They say within a year they should have turned a silvery colour - the one on the reduction side is hardly visible. I am happy with the outcome of the reduction, though it bears no resemblance to my previous breast! The nipple is cone shaped which I wouldn’t choose but I’m OK with it. I’m 58 btw and have Invasive Lobular Cancer - tumour was 6.8cm (thought to be 4cm pre-op) and no lymph node involvement.

I was a 38E and am now a 38C just to give some perspective. The op took 4 hours with 2 surgeons working on each side. And I got home the same day. I chose a mastectomy over a lumpectomy as I just wanted it gone! I would have had the other breast off as well but they refused as they said they wouldn’t remove a healthy breast. So reduction was the only thing offered. i was glad I did this as they tested the tissue they removed and didn’t find any evidence of cancer in this side.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your treatment xx

1 Like

Thank you so much for sharing this Shi. This is really helpful and I wish you loads and loads of luck for your next steps. xxx

1 Like

Thank you very much bluelagoon and I hope it all goes well going forward xx

2 Likes

Thank you for sharing this copperycat. Much appreciated. Very helpful particularly about the scar on the reduced breast, and the funny nipple - must ask about that. Warm wishes for your next steps xxx

2 Likes

:heart: rosab thank you and bcn’s here do ask away, everyone on the threads will help too, sorry you find yourself here, take it day at a time, treatment at a time and do everything your way and what’s right for you :heart: whatever you need to do :heart::two_hearts::two_hearts::sparkles::sparkles:Shi xx

thanks @rosab and you too. The cone shaped nipple I think is because it remains the same size but the breast is reduced so it looks bigger - not sure. I don’t mind though, for me it’s just a bit comical! Not really on display so I don’t mind! Of course we are all different, maybe my nipples are on the large size :sweat_smile: xx

1 Like

Thanks again for your help and support xxx

2 Likes

Thank you again, much appreciated. This seems like a really great forum.xxx

3 Likes

Hi @rosab & @copperycat, sorry you’ve had to join the club @rosab :confused:
I am just jumping on here as I had a single mastectomy in July 2022 and now need to decide what I’m doing for symmetry. Recon? Flat? Or reduction?
I’m feeling reduction is best, I’m quite big at 38 DD and my prosthetic is so heavy.
Also the thought of the 6 hr DIEP surgery with mesh scares me.
How did you find the reduction surgery and would you do again?
:green_heart:

1 Like

Hi @tired . So sorry you are having to make this decision. It’s so hard and everyone will be different in their opinions. I can tell you it from my own point of view but that may differ from someone else’s as I’m
Sure you appreciate.

I personally wanted to go flat on both sides but my consultant would only offer a mastectomy and a reduction. I am pleased enough with the reduction . It has worked well from what I can tell, it looks good and no issues. I do wear a prosthetic sometimes ( not the big heavy one they give you but one I bought from M&S which is lighter and more comfy) but for the most part I don’t bother . I’ve seen a company on IG who are devising mastectomy bras that are flat on one side which I would love but it’s not in general production yet! I still would prefer to be flat on both sides for all sorts of reasons but one of them is symmetry ( not the most important reason but yes a consideration).

Wishing you all the best with your decision, it is not an easy one to make xx

1 Like

Hi @tired, I’m sorry to hear you have to make this difficult decision. Maybe you could try finding a lighter prosthetic if only to decide that it’s really not for you?
I decided to go for the balancing (reduction) surgery at the same time as the lumpectomy because I was going from a 32GG To a much smaller breast due to the cancer being in 2 places and I thought a good prosthesis might be hard to find and that I might feel rather depressed with such a big difference when I looked at myself braless in the mirror.

I only had the surgery 10 days ago so I’m really not in a position yet to say how it has worked out except last week the specialist nurse took off the dressings and took a photograph for my records and my breasts looked pretty amazing given that I have never liked my big floppy breasts on my small frame. The recovery on the reduced breast compared to the cancer breast Is markedly easier with less pain and more mobility. I don’t know how it would be for you, because I am very new to this myself and do not know about the other options open to you, but I just decided that if I was having cosmetic surgery offered on the NHS, I should take it, but like I say my situation is different to yours. Tomorrow I meet with the surgeons for the surgery results and find out whether I need more surgery. I do not have the words for the anxiety this is causing.

I wish you lots and lots of luck and love on this difficult journey Xx

1 Like