Hi, new member who is totally confused!

Hi there,
I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 days ago. Thought I was doing ok but maybe Im not. Its a smallish lump, Dr is suggesting lumpectomy but have to go for MRI scan this Thursday then further consultation after that.
Am now feeling very confused - looking on this site lots of abbreviations are used that I am trying to get my head round.
Am going to speak to my breast cancer nurse after the weekend and try to figure it all out. Not sure what to ask though.
Has anyone ever been suggested a lumpectomy and gone for a full mastectomy instead ?

Dear alexbombalox

Welcome to the forum where I’m sure you will receive a lot of support from fellow members.

We have a list of some terms used which may help. here’s the link:


and also abbreviations used:


You could also call our helpline for practical information and emotional support. Opening times are 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays. The number is 0808 800 6000.

Very best wishes


BCC Moderator

Hi there Alex, I was offered a lumpectomy if I wanted it, but I just wanted the whole thing off and I am glad I did, I healed so quickly and well compared to a lot of ladies who jut had the lump removed. Everytime you think of a question, write it down, then you will have a list to ask your breast nurse. Dont be afraid to ask everything and anything. I start chemo in 2 weeks, so am on the next stage of the journey.
Good luck and try not to worry too much. When you are sitting in limbo land, which is a lot, try and smile and laugh. This site is a great support, you will make friends along the way xxx

Hi there Alex and sorry you have found yourself on here, as Gill says this is a great place to get all the support you need and also just write everything down as you think of it. Try not to worry about all the abrieviations at the moment, try and take each step at a time. I was like you to begin with and didn’t understand a great deal but that all comes along when it is supposed too. For you just now you need to find out the best options for you. I had a wide incision and the Tumour removed and as Gill says sometimes it is better to go for a full mastectomy, but maybe your surgeon may not see that as best for you, depending on where in the breast the lump is, that’s why you want to gather all your information first so you can then make an informed decision that is right for you. Everyone here will give you all the support and help you need so just go ahead and ask. Take Care of yourself, we are all here for you. Meg xx

Hi Alex, welcome to the club nobody wants to be in, you’ll find we’re a very friendly and supportive lot. It’s hard at the beginning when you’re not sure exactly what is going on but once you have a definite treatment plan you will feel much calmer and more in control. I was offered the choice of a lumpectomy (mine was actually called a quadrantectomy as quite a bit of breast tissue plus the nipple needed to be removed due to the position of the lump which was tiny 8mm) or a mastectomy. I asked the surgeon about comparative survival stats and he said they are the same, it really makes no difference these days which you choose . I decided upon the WLE ( lumpectomy), have a neat 8/9 cm horizontal scar across the mid line of my breast, no nipple and although the affected breast is smaller and more pert when clothed the difference is barely noticeable. I do have a partial prosthesis but rarely use it. I went for the smaller op in the knowledge that I could have a mastectomy later if needed. Other ladies like GillyR would rather just have the whole breast off straight away. It’s a very personal decision which only you can make. Good advice re writing down a question when you think of it, also, could you take someone with you to appointments to write down what the BC nurse or consultant says as you’ll probably only hear half and remember even less. In the mean time try to keep busy, and don’t google, stay on this site or MacMillan for accurate and up to date advice. Do keep posting, ask any questions (none are silly or too trivial), cry, rant, voice your fears, you’ll always find someone here willing to listen and help. Best wishes, Pat x

Wow, thankyou so much so all responding so quickly. What wonderful people you are.
Janet, I fiund that acronym information just after I posted - see I said I was confused!
I think I want a magic wand to make this go away and make all my decisions for me - but I know I have to make the right informed decisions for me - I already love this site.
Now work: I work fulltime in a stresful job - I dont know whether to carry on for now until the Op except fo days off for appts or to ask Dr to sign me off - I will still get paid anyway. Would likt to know what aother epople have done

Hi Alex, just a quick note cos I’m late to go out . I had lumpectomy and at first I just said to surgeon take the breast off he said he would if I really wanted to but statistically outcome the same, he also advised dont make any emotional decisions, think about it. I’m healing well now and also I had full lymph removal for me that’s the harder surgery to cope with as quite painful at times. My right breast a bit perter than other but in clothes you can’t notice this surgeon has also offered to even everything up next year but I might not as it doesn’t bother me at mo.
as the girls above have said its a personal decision, hope it all goes ok, keep on the forum there’s alwaysomeone who will listen and help, take care x

Hi Alex

As the ladies above have said it is a very personal question and we all feel different, also I think it is dependant on a lot of different things such as size of lump, where the lump is and how big/small your breasts are. I had a lumpectomy two weeks ago, a full mastectomy was never mentioned by my Dr’s, like you, I had a smallish lump which they have removed with clear margins and no lymph involvment and, as my breast care nurse would put it, I am fairly heavy breasted so once the swelling goes down I will only have a small dent in the top of my breast and the scar runs round the edge of my nipple so once heeled will not be all that noticable.

As for work, again, I think that is a personal question dependent on how you feel and how understandable and flexible your company is. I am in the lucky postion to work for a small company whom I have been with for many years and who are very understanding. I worked up until my op then took the two weeks off that my Dr signed me off for afterwards. I go back to work tomorrow until I start chemo in 3 weeks then I shall take it as it comes, I will work if I am able, as I am in accounts a lot of my work is computer based so I have asked my company to set up a remote connection for me so that if I do not feel able to acutally go into the office I can work from home, as no-one knows how chemo will affect them until they start I can’t really plan more than that.

The main thing though Alex is for you to speak to your BCN and Dr’s and to get as much information from them as you can about your situation so that you can make the decisions that are best for you. You might find it a help to take a family member or close friend with you to the appointments so you have a second pair of ears to hear all the information and have someone you can talk it through with and use as a bit of a sounding board to help make things clearer in your own mind so you make these decisions.

I wish you all the best, take care.

Chris xx

Well I came into work today - not sure how useful I am being but its nice to have few laughs being here - although I have found myself back on here again
I am on leave tomorrow anyway and then at work on Wed, MRI and consultant Thursday, and Drs on Friday: its a busy week!
Mrs Ugbug: I too am heavy breasted and I think if MRI looks ok Thursday wil do with WLE as suggested by consulatnt.