Further surgery for clear margin

Hi everyone 

I have to have further op as not completely clear 1mm margin from lumpectomy. I have been fairly relaxed about this except for having to wait 3 weeks for surgery. The consultant explained everything in detail, showed me that it was one very small area where the margin was 0.7mm and how the site of that small area had made it quite tricky and explained that it was pre-cancerous cells in the margin He even said that he knew some surgeons would have treated it as being ok, especially as he was 100% certain that all cancer had been removed.

But I am now back into worry and panic mode. I think it is probably the 3 week wait. What worries me more about the wait is that it is also delaying further treatment. The oncologist won’t see me until they have the results from the second op - and my mind obviously thinks that this means there is a chance of something else being found, despite what I was told. I am expecting to have to have chemo as my ANC found another positive node and thus is just being pushed back further and further. My consultant mentioned that any chemo may not start until the new year. My initial surgery was 4 weeks ago, so that seems like a long delay. 

I am going to speak to my BCN but just wondered if any of you have been through a similar experience/delay. 

Hi grannyp,

Thank you for your post.

I am sorry to see that you’re worried.

I am hoping my response will help our members to see your post and share their experience.

In the meantime, please remember that for any clinical questions our breast care nurses are here and happy to talk.

Sending you our warmest wishes,


Hello grannyp,

I feel for you!

I had  a lumpectomy in January  and had to go back a second time in February  for a re-excision, as I didn’t have clear margins.The waiting is the worst bit:waiting for the operation ,waiting for results , waiting…I was lucky that my second operation was 2 weeks after I saw my surgeon for results but I knew I would then have to wait another 3 weeks after that for results so it all felt like a long time-and in fact my results were delayed for a week so it took a bit longer.(Now I am through everything, I really do wish in retrospect I had been prepared for delays/repetition;I was incredibly naive in thinking everything would run smoothly! )

However, I seem to remember being told the chances of going back for a second operation are quite high-1 in 5 women,I think, so there is actually quite a high likelihood of it happening-you just always hope it will be someone else!The good news is if you have already had the lumpectomy,  you know what to expect and the re-excision operation is not such a major operation -if you don’t need to have lymph nodes removed again, hopefully you will recover more quickly and not be quite so restricted as to what you can do as you won’t have a wound under your arm.(I did end up vacuuming the stairs the day after my op-maybe I shouldn’t have) 

Your surgeon is being  extra cautious and that is very reassuring .I think my margins were something similar and  the results showed DCIS -it seemed microscopic and when I discussed it with my BCN, she said that my surgeon was always  very careful-so in the long run, it’s for your benefit.I remember thinking that all sorts of things could be happening in the meantime but again, my BCN pointed out that the main cancer had been removed and this was really just extra security.Do speak to her, as I am sure she will be able to reassure you .   

Good luck!