Just wondering if there is anyone on here who can give me some long term good news stories after lumpectomy and radiotherapy. I had lumpectomy on 31st October which went well (apart from haematoma and couple of healing issues that are needing some medical assistance). I am struggling a lot mentally with the fear of the future and going through this again. A big part of me wants a mastectomy to just be done with it but being told by my lovely nurse and more than one consultant that that is too radical and I really need to try not to worry. Too many people seem to tell me about lumpectomy being the poor relation in surgery terms. I need some more positive news to give me faith in my treatment options as they stand. Anyone on here who is a few years down the track and can give me confidence? I am 43 and struggling to accept I won’t face this again. X
I’ve been told that there’s no evidence that lumpectomy has a worse outcome than mastectomy . I know there are many variables as to what surgery might be better for which person . I had my surgery less than two years ago but my friend had a lumpectomy ten years ago followed by radiotherapy and five years of Tamoxifen and she’s fit and healthy with no sign of recurrence - hopefully that’s the kind of thing you want to hear ?
Joanne. X .
Hello again @blue80
I too am similarly 2 years post lumpectomy and radiotherapy so not able to give you personal reassurance of no recurrence after this treatment
If it helps at all to put your mind in a better place I know of a few cases of recurrence with a mastectomy so having a mastectomy does not give you any guarantees.
Unfortunately the scientists really don’t know why some of us get a breast cancer diagnosis (or a lot of other cancers) and being diagnosed is completely out our control. All any of us can do is to try and reduce our risk, these conclusions have been made by the scientists studying many many thousands of previous cases and that is how they are able to tell us what the best plan is.
We are very lucky that they have developed the drugs Tamoxifen and AI’s to reduce the risks of recurrence of hormonal breast cancer (these have only been around for the past 20 years or so) so taking the tablets that you are prescribed will reduce your risk
The other big big big thing that reduces risk is exercise: this is not working out 5 times a week in a gym. Exercise is daily movement, sometimes taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus a stop earlier, parking the car further away: all those little things you’ve heard time and time again just one thing on its own won’t necessarily make a difference but the combination does and may lead you to who knows where? This is why apps like the Couch to 5k are so helpful
Unfortunately the next factor is alcohol. There is evidence that especially in older women (post menopausal) excessive alcohol contributes to the risk of breast cancer, but I’ve heard very knowledgeable breast cancer specialist who herself had breast cancer question if drinking a lot in her 20’s contributed but she accepts she will never know like most of us struggling to understand “why me?” Therefore reducing your alcohol intake is advisable
Lastly diet: despite what some may try to tell you there is no such thing as either a cancer causing or cancer preventing food: the only evidence on food is the same advice we all get about what looks like a healthy diet avoiding the ultra processed, cutting down on sugar, eating a large variety of fruits vegetables and other plant based foods like pulses and nuts. There is no need to eliminate anything from your diet but as my grand parents always said “everything in moderation”
As I mentioned to you before you are still at an early stage, trying to think about too far into the future is going to be stressful, but talking through your fears and worries will help. BCN offer lots of amazing support services as well as these forums: you might like to try the Someone Like Me Service and later on a Moving Forward course, in person support groups are amazing too and you should be able to find one through your breast clinic
Lots of love as always
Hi, I had a lumpectomy and node clearance in 2015 and have had no problems since. Looking forward to getting off Tamoxifen in two years time. There are lots of good outcomes out there so try not to worry (easy said almost impossible to do I know) and good luck for the future.
Sorry you’re feeling anxious. I am 8 1/2 years out from a grade 3/HER+ve/ER 8/8 (ie super aggressive tumour) & all fine. I had lumpectomy + rads. I felt the same way as you during treatment but a year later l was glad l ‘just’ had a lumpectomy. Your anxiety about the future is normal & totally understandable but it does recede as time goes on & eventually BC just seems like a bad dream. I know it happened to me in 2015 but l don’t really remember the details of treatment/how l felt. Good luck to you & focus on the future. Try reading the Cancer Survivor’s Companion it’s really good for post treatment worries. xx
What a great post. I only wish there was more advice like this. You’re completely right about minimising the risk of recurrence through lifestyle changes. So much better to feel empowered to take responsibility for yourself rather than just hope it will all be ok xx
Thank you so much. This helps a lot. I am very scared but I have stopped drinking. I can’t say I never will again but I certainly won’t drink regularly again. I try to eat healthily generally but trying to even more so now. I also do pilates and tennis normally so will go back to that once I am well enough. I am aiming to go for at least a 30min walk everyday too - can’t right now as healing issue!
So much online seems to put the fear of god into you if you have had lumpectomy and I need some balance in my thoughts. This helps!
Thank you so much. This really helps
You are not alone, ask anybody who has been through any form of cancer diagnosis and treatment what their biggest fear is and they will tell you “recurrence”
It does get easier to manage as time passes
I know what you mean about reading things online, may be it helps to remember that it is human nature to seek help and support when we have a problem and not when we are experiencing happy healthy lives so you will always read more negative than positive things online
I had my lumpectomy and radiotherapy in 2019. I had 3 years of zoledronic acid IV and started on letrozole. This changed to exemestane for ten years, because the letrozole made me way too depressed.
When I had my first yearly mammogram I asked if I could also have an ultrasound scan every year too, I was so nervous about recurrence. My lovely surgeon explained why this was not a good road to go down.
The side effects from exemestane remind me daily that I had breast cancer but also that I’m having treatment daily to stop recurrence.
I do what else I can to stay healthy but I still have a drink, don’t exercise quite as much as I perhaps should, and I eat well.
I have confidence that my surgery removed all the cancer from my breast and removed three lymph nodes, 1 positive. Despite this I think it’s natural to feel apprehensive at times. I remind my self regularly that it’s actually all been and still is very good news since that first diagnosis.
Live your life, accept that there will be a niggling worry, but don’t let it stop you having fun and experiencing the joy of life.
God bless. Xxx
My surgeon explained carefully to me that in my case, lumpectomy and radiotherapy was almost equivalent to mastectomy. So I would go with your surgeons advice.
Like a lot of these ladies, I, too am 3+ years post two lumpectomies (we didn’t get clear margins after the first, hence why I needed a second surgery) and 20 days of radiotherapy.
I’ve been cancer-free since, but truthfully, we can never have 100% certainty about a recurrence. That’s just the way it is. But to ease your mind re-your thoughts on a mastectomy, I was advised by my team that you can still get a recurrence after a mastectomy because cancer can still grow in the chest wall. I believe they also said there is no difference in mortality rates between mastectomy and lumpectomy, but please don’t quote me on that-perhaps others will be able to confirm this, though I am quite certain that is what they said.
Hi, I am 17 post lumpectomy, my surgeon was one of the best . He helped design the seninel node biopsy, and taught it nationally. I trusted him, and at 54 am a pretty fit triathlete who enjoys an odd gkass of wine. Take care, it gets easier to put on the back burner with time.
Hi, it is good to hear about peoples recovery pathways. I am 11 days post lumpectomy, aged 64. Was feeling fine and back riding my horse after 3 days (gently) and been increasing both walking and horse riding activity every day. But then yesterday scared the pants off myself with greatly increased pain and new angry bruising appearing around nipple area, and couldn’t eat my supper. (Appetite usually great). Family all telling me I am overdoing it / so would love to hear from someone who resumed exercise quite quickly and it worked for them? I have a number of fit friends who are 10/20 years beyond their diagnosis, but appreciate everyone recovers at a different rate in a different way.
I am going for lumpectomy and full node clearance on 15th December after 7 rounds of chemo. Her2 and ER+ve so there will be radiotherapy and tablets after that.
The way I look at it is mastectomy for everyone was the blunderbuss approach of years gone by, but now, the individually designed regimes with a multi-pronged approach are far preferable with overall better outcomes albeit the journey through them is a harsh one. Mastectomy still remains part of the mix for some, but not all.
Recurrence will always be a possibility for us all, but I for one am going to make much more effort with healthy lifestyle o ce my treatment is over as that’s one of the few things that’s in my gift to take control of.