Double mastectomy


I was dx with low grade DCIS. However due to my small chest size a clear margin would not be possible so was decided a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction would be required. A double mastectomy was recommended to give the best cosmetic results and also because of my family history with BC. When other ppl have required mastectomy on both breasts did you have it done in one go or did they do one breast then another at a later date. I am really wanting them done together cause I am going to run out of sick pay, am going on holiday in Sept with friends and want to b able to wear a bikini and psychologically I would like to get it over and done with in one go. I know it effects movement in both arms but I am 29 and have a fantastic hubby would would b there to run around after me. However I have been told by one surgeon that the other surgeon thats doing the op may want to do them one at a time. What are other ppls exerpiences with this. Surly at the end of the day the decision should b mine?



Dear MelanieLH

You are welcome to give our helpliners a call they are specialist breast care nurses and they will be able to offer you information and support. The number is 0808 800 6000 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm.

Best wishes

Hi Melanie,
I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in July07.(I was 34 at diagnosis) I was like you and wanted both done together,but my surgeon refused-he told me that they would deal with the cancer first. I think it depends on your surgeon.
With hindsight,it was probably a wise choice as it was a 7 hour operation just to do one! I am due to see him next week when hopefully he will give me a date for the other side to be done (I too have family history and was adamant from the start that I wanted both off) I have to say-he did a fantastic job!!! Don’t worry about the sick pay, because, if like me, you have to wait for the other side, by the time it comes around, you will be in a new year so your sick pay will start again.
Good luck with your op
Best wishes

Hello Melanie
Tough news, sorry you have to go through this. I had a double mastectomy 4 years ago for lobular cancer - one side was diagnosed, I was waiting for my op date, then the other one developed puckering, I knew immediately what it was. There was no question about having them both off together, it never occured to me or apparently my surgeon. I would say that it seems obvious to me to have them both done at once, considering post op care, length of stay in hospital, aneasthetic risks etc. Can’t your sureons do one each? I didn’t have any reconstruction done, I was 46 and not so concerned about my appearance as I would have been at a younger age and didn’t want an “uneccesary” operation, although I can quite see why others would do.
My movement range in both arms was restricted for a while but I saw improvement on almost a daily basis as soon as I was able to do the exercises. May I suggest that you get as fit as possible prior to your op? Its something that no-one seems to advise but for good healing and recovery it makes sense to be on top form, including healthy eating, supplements etc. Glad to hear you got a fantasic hubby, not everyone is in that position, I hope you know how lucky you are to have that kind of support - I’m sure you do!
Good luck Melanie, thinking of you. Carol

Sorry, just re-read it and it looks confusing. I meant to say there was no question abouy NOT having them off together! Got my chemo head on!
Carol Xx

Hi There

Thanks for your replies:

Katy - Hmmm I dont think its fair that it depends on the surgeon. Some will some wont. Surly they would b better giving the pros and cons of doing bilateral then let us the patients decide on what they want. I think they just see it from a total medical point of view and dont take in the psychological side of how things effect us.

Great to hear you are happy with the job he has done and you are not having to wait to get the otherside completed.

Cazzy - I am pretty fit and eat healthy anyway so hoping this will help with my recovery. Cause Im used to exercising I should have no problem sticking to the exercises after the op. I can understand you not wanting additional ops. Thats why im wanting them done in one go otherwise they are adding another two to the total. Even the excisional I handled poorly, hyperventallating, pulse over 180, they had to knock me out early I was that bad. Op total four but would b brought to six if each side done individually and I just cannot face the trauma of that. Its not the ops Im scared of I just really really freak about the being put under, I dunno why.