Can anyone help

I was just diagnosed on Monday 26th July (the date I’ll never forget) I’m going back this Monday for my biopsy results. The surgeon and nurse have said depending on the results I have the final choice which type of operation I have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy how do you choose I am so scared!!! Kath

Hi Kath
So sorry you had to join us here. The waiting is dreadful and your mind goes into overdrive. When you get your results the consultant I am sure will be able to guide you towards the right decision. It can depend on many things as to whether you are able to have a lumpectomy or need a mastectomy. Once you have results and a treatment plan somehow it does become easier to deal with. Take one step at a time and be kind to yourself. x

Hi Kath,

Sorry that you’ve had to join us here, but this is an excellent place for support and information.

With regard to your surgery. They say that the results are just as good for mastectomy or lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy in situations where they can offer you a choice. So you might want to ask them how long you’d be going for radiotherapy (there are different ways of delivering the dose so some courses are longer than others) and where you’d have to go. Some people end up with quite a long journey each day for 6 weeks. I had lumpectomy and radiotherapy. By the end of rads I was very tired but it was manageable.

Good luck,
Eliza xx

So sorry to see you here Kath.
Please be assured that they will recommend the best procedure for you. Much will depend on the grade, type, size and placement of the tumor, as well as the size of your breasts.
Best wishes for Monday

To be honest it may be your decision as such but you will feel it is made for you. Once you get the biopsy results they should tell you more info about the cancer, grading etc and should have an idea of the size - although they never really know that until after surgery and recieve pathology results.

I was told my cancer was grade 2, approx 2cm. My surgeon wanted me to have a mastectomy initially - his words get it all out! I wanted to conserve my breast as much as I could, I spoke to my GP who was in agreement with me and I went for Lumpectomy. As my lump was behind my nipple I was told my breast would be ‘deformed’ (their words) and I would loe my nipple.

Anyhow it was not to be, they didn’t get the margins from the lumpectomy (WLE) and found cancer in nodes (SNE) and I had to go back for a second Operation, MX and full clearence of nodes. I am glad that I tried to ‘save’ my breast the first time round, but I think if cancer is found in my ‘good’ breast I wold go for MX straightaway.

The results from my final op showed the whole tumour to be 9cm so nothing but a full MX would clear - I did then get clear margins from this although had more node involvement.

My treatment plan therefor is Chemo, 3 FEC and 3 TAX, radiotheropy and hormone theropy for 7 years! i grabbed it with both hands, have nearly finished my Chemo (last one next week!) and looking forward to getting all the active treatment being over.

It is very scary, particularly when you are first diagnosed but its good that your medical team are talking to you and allowing you to make choices, it does give you some control in a situation whereby you feel powerless. Its proably easy for me to say but it does get better. I still have ‘dark’ thoughts at times but generally I am trying to get on with my life and whilst the Cancer ‘thing’ will never go away - I am determined it will be part of my life (rather than the whole of it).

I hope my story helps, you will get ‘advice’ from all and sundry - I tend to ignore it! I listen to my husband, my GP and this forum where there is so much good advice and experience and any decision you make needs to be the right one for you - but make sure its an informed one!
Take Care and good luck xxxxx

Hi Kath, I got told on Tuesday 27th july that I have a grade 3 ductal breast cancer, my surgeon gave me no path to choose, a mastectomy is the only solution as the tumour is placed behind my nipple. Im 41 and just thought what am I going to tell my children. And deep down I know that losing my breast can save my life but there is also a small part of me that doesn’t want to lose my looks, and then I feel guilty for thinking a selfish thought.

Good luck in your journey, we have a rocky road ahead Nikki

hi kath,

sorry you have had to join us, you will still be feeling a lot of shock and its hard to make such a big decision when you are in shock.

I was told i would probably be ok for a lumpectomy after the initial fine needle biopsy, and then when the resuts came back from the core biopsy they confirmed that i was a good candidate for a lumpectomy but that if i wanted a mastectomy instead then i could. They said i needed time to reflect on the choice and thats one of the reasons why a few weeks between diagnosis and the operation is a good idea.

My initial reaction on being diagnosed was for a double mastectomy immediately, after it had sunk in i downscaled to wanting a single mx for the affected breast and then after a lot of thought i agreed a lumpectomy. It was pretty clear that that had always been their preferred choice and as soonas i said it they were quite happy!

To get to that decision, i had a lot of thinking and discussing to do. They told me that if the experts agree that a lumpectomy can be offered in a particular case, then its because the prognosis is the same as it would be for a mastectomy. Apparently, lumpectomy plus radiotherapy is equal to a mastectomy in those circumstances.

I then had a long meeting with my bcn and my husband. I saw lots of photos of different lumpectomys my surgeon had done. The results were amazing and i am amazed at the cosmetic effect of my ownlumpectomy too. I met a girl who had had the same op with the sae surgeon and saw her breasts and again was shocked at how good the result was. I saw photos of mastectomy scars, and went through the various different options for reconstruction and looked at photos of results. I handled the different implants and the false soft and prosthetic false breasts that ladies use if they dont have a reconstruction. At this stage, i had kind of made my mind up for a lumpectomy, but my nurse, and my friend who is a breast oncologist, both said that if i wanted a mastectomy still, i should definitely talk to somone who has had it as there are a lot of physical side effects to consder as well as the emotional one of losing a breast. Apparently some people feel unbalanced after a mastectomy as their centre of gravity shifts, and reconstructions can leave physical problems behind too. I am no expert in that and hopefully someone who has been through it can give you the heads up on it.

The counterside to lumpectomy is a bigger risk of recurrence, so you may want to ask what the risks of recurrence are in your particular case for both procedures. I didnt ask secifically as i couldnt cope with knowing that info at that stage. Survivial is different to recurrence risk. Some women feel they are “fallen out” with the affected breast and simply dont want it anymore. To others, a mastectomy and losing a breast is not central to their identity and they are quite happy to “get rid” , for others its such a big part of them that the idea fills them with horror. You have to examine your own feelings to decide where you are with this.
Peace of mind is the other thing to consider, are you the kind of person who will learn to live with the affected breast still being there or will you be so anxious that it will ruin your life?

For me, i think i am happy i had a lumpectomy, and i do appreciate still havingmy breast and not having the extra issues with my body to deal with at this stage, as some ladies have to. I am currently undergoing chemo so its hard going but doable. Whether i will settle to accept my breast still being there despite it giving me a life threatening disease, i dont know, but i think i will. However, one inkling that it is back and i will be asking for it to be taken immediately. No second chances!

Hope that helps, good luck with your decision , results and treatment


Hi everyone

I just want to say a big thank you to all of for your support and advice I’m really gald I found this site cos it’s so hard talking to my hubby as he gets too upset and our children live away so it’s hard to rell them things by phone.

I have very supportive friends and family but unless you’ve been through this nobody knows what it’s like it has to be the thing that most women dread and having to wait for results and tests is just so stressful but I’m getting there bit by bit just need Monday to come quick. Thanks again Kath x

Hi Kath, sorry you find yourself here with such a grim choice to make, the helpline can provide you with more medical info if you need that to make your decision. I had a radical mx, anc and immediate ld flap reconstruction without implant. The op is long nearly 7 hours and I was in hospital for 6 days. I had to have an mx due to the size of tumours and being multifocal. The reconstruction feels very natural and I was shown pictures of my surgeons work beforehand. You wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at me that I had an mx, there will be further surgery to to finish off with a nipple etc. All the best and good luck! X

Kath, feel free to send me a pm if you need further info on the surgery if you decide to go down that route!

Hi Kath- as other people have already advised you, if there was any doubt as to which was the best option for you, your consultant would not be suggesting a lumpectomy; why would he risk it?

I had WLE (lumpectomy ) 2 years ago although my cancer was grade 3, stage3; Whether the surgeon can get clear margins, the position of the growth, the pathology of the cancerous cells, the actual breast shape -these are criteria which the surgeon and his team use.
I am quite small-breasted but even though I had node involvement & aggressive cells ,WLE was right for me.
I had chemo and rads but am very grateful that I didn’t have to lose my breast; my cancer was on the underside of my breast - to the casual observer ( who’s looking?!) my scar is not visible and there is no change to my breast shape.
Don’t go for mastectomy because you think WLE is not so safe: I’m sure your surgeon will not advise you to take risks.

Hi Kath,
I was given this choice in June and opted for a lumpectomy as they said there was no difference in prognosis when I asked. However this was when they said the tumour was 3 cm large. When I went in for the op as I have invasive lobular cancer which is hard to detect on scans, they found that the actual lump was 6x7 cms and the results showed that the margins were not clear, so I needed a mastectomy anyway 3 weeks later. With hindsight I would have chosen to have a mastectomy initially, however we can only go with the current knowledge of a particular situation and hindsight is a wonderful thing!
On a positive note, I am through it now, recovering well from both ops and waiting for my chemo regime safe in the knowledge that the tumours have gone and the chemo is really to be sure there are no rogue cells wondering around the body.
Whatever you are advised/decide, I wish you well in your recovery.
Best wishes
Sallyann X


My cancer was grade 3, stage 2 and 35mm. I asked the surgeon to whip the breast off but he said no, a lumpectomy would be fine. As a result, I have a boob which looks hardly any different and a big scar where the lymph nodes were removed. I went thru the chemo and rads bit as well.

Julia xx

I had a new-ish type of subcutaneous mastectomy which meant that I kept my nipple even though the tumour was very close by (it was 3cm) - now the only sign is a very thin white scar near my armpit. I had an implant put in so woke up looking the same, which was good psychologically and it was a short operation - about three hours and I recovered very fast. One reason was I opted for it was because I’m very fair and my skin would possibly have burned badly during radiation. I’d reiterate what others have said - surgeons specialise in different types of operation - I’d definitely ask to see examples of their previous work and what their speciality is, operation-wise. A good surgeon won’t mind if you ask for a second opinion. I was in a terrible state when I was initially diagnosed but things did get better!

I was given the choice of lumpectomy with rads or mastectomy and told the prognosis was equally as good. I opted for the lumpectomy and now just have a little scar under my arm, and it is less saggy than the other boob. I think I made the right choice, but it depends on how you feel about your boobs and also whether you want to undergo the radiation treatment.
Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

Go tomorrow for my results its going to be a long day just wish it was here will let everyoneow know how it goes and thanks for all your support Kath x

I found results day one of the hardest days of my life,just the waiting and waiting. Really will be thinking of you and I hope that your results are good news. All the very best , vickie xxx

Really feel for you Kath…glad you find the site a support, it certainly helped me too. Results day is crap but you will come to terms with whatever the suggested treatment is, and you WILL get through it - whether lumpectomy or mastectomy. I am nearly 3 months after lumpectomy and in the middle of chemo, and although it’s tough, it’s almost easier than the uncertainty of not knowing.
Big hugs for you
xxx Sal

Good luck for today

Hi Kath,

Sorry that you have had your diagnosis and found yourself here. But it isn’t a death sentence or the end of the world … just the start of a what will probably be a long and difficult year … but you can get through it and if you are lucky it won’t be anywhere near as bad as you imagine initially - at least that is how it has been for me.

Regarding your surgery, I think it is always best to listen to your surgeon and follow his/her advice. However, I had a lumpectomy in Jan and was advised that although all invasive cancer had been removed I needed to have further surgery after chemotherapy to remove DCIS. I elected to have a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction when my surgeon suggested that a second lumpectomy may result in yet more surgery. As a second invasive tumor was found following mastectomy (even after 6 sessions of chemo) I have not regretted this for a moment.

Good luck