DCIS & confused


First time poster here.  I had my first mammogram at age 49 (now 61) when I was recalled for calcium deposits in both breasts. Had ultrasound & was told not cancerous. 3rd mammogram was recalled for an abscess in left breast. 4th mammogram in May, had first biopsy as there was a cluster of new calcium deposits in the left breast.  Now been told I have 19mm intermediate DCIS
I have been given the choice of a lumpectomy followed by 5 sessions of radiotherapy or a mastectomy & no radiotherapy. Feeling very confused & overwhelmed about what to choose.  Initial thoughts were I don’t want that breast anymore & it can go but my bcn told me that survival rates are the same so is it better to have the lumpectomy?  I am terrified of the possible effects of the radiotherapy to my heart or lungs though.  Think I could happily live without a boob.  Don’t fancy a reconsideration. Bra size 32C so not huge but is a mastectomy too drastic?  Should I have my breast cut off if I don’t need too?  Is anyone else feeling the same?

Of course you’re questioning the decision. It’s an amputation after all and can be quite traumatic. I had hormone positive IDC, grade 3 with no lymph involvement and no LVI in one breast. The second one was clear. Went ahead and decided on a double mastectomy anyway although I was quite aware it was overkill. The reason I decided on it was because it eliminated the need for regular mammograms and considering how anxious I had always been with them and then actually having a positive biopsy I knew I never wanted another one. I hated my breasts by the time I was diagnosed and never wanted to look at them again. Plus, like you I didn’t want radiation. Ended up having chemo but radiation scared me more. So the question that I imagine you have is whether I regret making that decision. And the answer is NO. Emphatically no. I have healed well, the double mastectomy was a breeze, the delayed reconstruction was more difficult but that has gone well also, and I don’t miss my natural breasts at all. Good riddance in fact. Now I know you don’t want reconstruction and think you would be happy with being flat but are wondering if that’s an accurate feeling. Well a lot of women are very happy being flat. I was worried about that, too, though because I was a triple D, couldn’t get my reconstruction right away so I’d have to be flat for a while and was wondering how I’d feel. I loved it. So much that if I hadn’t had my double mastectomy with later reconstruction in mind, I don’t think I would have minded staying flat. But I had a lot of extra skin and decided to just go on ahead and use it for reconstruction. But anyway in saying all that trust your instincts. If you feel done with your boobs, that’s probably not going to change. Just make sure you know what kind of flat closure you want and that you direct them to give you exactly that. If you don’t have any surprises when you wake up, you’ll probably be fine. 

Oh and a mastectomy doesn’t increase long term survival that’s true because it doesn’t make a difference in how likely a distant metastasis is to occur . However, it does decrease the chances slightly of a local recurrence. I liked that about it. 


You say you feel ‘terrified’ of radiotherapy. Is it worth talking through likely (or unlikely) risks with someone to help you feel less frightened and more informed? That might help with your decision making.

I have recently had a mastectomy without reconstruction. Personally, I knew from day one that I would be happier with mastectomy than lumpectomy. Obviously, it is different for everyone and there is a different ‘right’ answer for everyone. Full respect to everyone who has had to make that big decision, it is not easy. ?
I am happy with my decision and I already know I’ll be fine without a reconstruction. 
I agree with Kay0987 that your gut will tell you what feels right for you. Mine did and I absolutely know I will have no regrets about my decision. 

Wishing you all the very best x