DCIS & surgery choices


It was a few days after my 50th birthday when I attended my first ever mammogram. A few weeks later, I had a call back. I wasn’t especially worried as the bcn had said call backs for first mammograms were common and not to be concerned if I received one.

During that follow up, I was given a further mammogram, an ultra sound, a consultation with a doctor and a needle assisted biopsy after being told they had concerns regarding my left breast. It all happened rather quickly from there - I was told I would receive my results in two weeks. They had spotted micro calcifications. Two weeks later I got my call to say my results were inconclusive and another biopsy was needed. This time a vacuum assisted procedure. It all felt a bit surreal and like I was living in somebody else’s world for a bit…
Another two week wait and I got invited to see a breast consultant to receive my results.
A very kind lady surgeon told me that I had high grade DCIS and that she recommended a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction using an implant. It took a while to process this news. I was referred to a different oncoplastic team to carry out the procedure. The referral took 5 weeks to come through which allowed me time to come to terms with what I was facing.

At the initial consultation, the manner of the oncoplastic surgeon was very different. I have since learnt that these surgeons can appear colder and more distant as they assess your body for surgery. The biggest dilemma I had was that this surgeon was suggesting a completely different surgical option. She was adamant that I should have a lumpectomy with breast reshaping using a muscle from my back. She said I would also need 5 episodes of radiotherapy. The complete turnaround was mind blowing after coming to terms with losing a breast. It was a very challenging time - I went away and researched lots, learnt more about my condition, and the two types of surgeries but I always had the preference for mastectomy in my mind. In the end I returned to the original surgeon, who had delivered the news initially as I needed to understand her reasons for recommending mastectomy in the first place. She said that with my particular DCIS, due to its size, location and high grade, it was more likely to return in the future with lumpectomy and she felt mastectomy would give me the best outcome. I was also keen to avoid radiotherapy which would have been required with lumpectomy.
This surgeon re-referred me to different surgeon who was brilliant - extremely well versed in his field and presented both surgical options to me in a calm and unbiased way. In the end, he performed a skin sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction using an implant. He also performed symmetry surgery on the right with an uplift - this felt indulgent at the time but it was important for my self image and confidence and also important professionally for the surgeon to achieve a good cosmetic outcome.
I’m happy to say all went well and I am now 12 weeks on from surgery. I am amazed at how quickly my body is healing. The overriding emotion is relief - relief that the DCIS is gone, to be on the other side of surgery and to move forward now. It was recommended that my nipple be removed also and I am now waiting to have a nipple reconstruction in the future. This will make me feel complete.

I think this forum is a fantastic place for women to be able to talk, share and consult each other on things you wouldn’t necessarily speak to your bcn or surgeon about - the more we can do to reduce our anxiety levels the better!


Hi, your journey sounds similar to mine. I’m 53 & was recalled after first mammogram. I had a biopsy, which confirmed ILC. An MRI followed & then a vacuum assisted biopsy using mammogram, which showed DCIS. I have been recommended a mastectomy, which I found really difficult to come to terms with. I saw a super plastic surgeon & team, who explained clearly all the options to me & I’ve opted for DIEP reconstruction. I’m very nervous about the surgery & recovery but feel it’s the best option for me. Next step is a CT scan to look at blood vessels, & if that’s all ok I’ll get a date for surgery hopefully in October.
It’s great to hear you’re healing so well. Sending strength & positivity your way. xx


Hi Mich1329
It sounds like you are in very capable hands and I’ve heard only positive things about that type of reconstruction. Each type of procedure has its pros and cons and it’s good you’re happy with your recommendation and decision.

I can honestly say that personally for me the most difficult time was the waiting beforehand for surgery … the weeks seemed never ending. Keeping distracted helped with plenty of family social get togethers and the day soon arrived.

I was really anxious on the day as I hadn’t had a general anaesthetic since I was 19 so didn’t really know what to expect. The anaesthetist and surgical team soon put my mind to rest - they want to look after you and make sure you are as relaxed as possible … I had nothing to worry about - all was over before I knew it and woke up with my new breast. I did take a while to get over the effects of the anaesthetic - felt a little nauseous and my throat was sore for a few weeks but the feeling of being on the other side of surgery is wonderful.

You will be just fine - I hope your results for the blood vessels come through soon and you get your surgery date soon … you’re heading in the right direction! xx

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Talk about a whirlwind experience! You seem to have been very lucky with your team, very positive, and seemingly a good outcome. Did you have any lymph nodes removed ‘to make sure?’ Well done and good luck!

Hi tappin

Yes I had a sentinel node biopsy at the same time as my mastectomy and had to wait a few weeks for results post surgery but thankfully all was clear and no spread.

It has been a whirlwind experience and still processing it all really but finding sharing with others in similar situations helpful.