Hodgkins Survivor - Now having a Mastectomy

Hello, I was successfully treated for Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1993 (age 20) and 1995. I had chemotherapy both times and Radiotherapy the second time around. 

A recent routine annual mammogram identified ‘calcium specs’ on my left breast which led to further investigations including a biopsy.

I got the results on Wednesday - Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). My only option is a Mastectomy and they recommend both breasts (curative intent treatment).

I’m 49 and feeling in great health so this has been pretty devastating tbh especially as it is 26 years since I’ve had treatment.

This is treatable and will not impact life expectancy, I’m lucky that it has been picked up early.

Anyway …… reconstruction with my own fat/tissue is preferred rather than implants.

I would like to have one operation (i.e. mastectomy and reconstruction together) but not entirely clear if that is possible/practical?

Would appreciate guidance from someone who has been through a similar experience. I’m feeling a bit lost at the moment. It’s all so surreal.

Thank you lots. Michelle x

Hi Michelle,

Not sure I can offer much guidance, but reaching out to let you know you’re not alone.

I was treated for Hodgkins in 1990. I went on to develop breast cancer on 3 occasions (10 years after, then 15 after that, then 4 after that!) before anyone finally told me that the radiotherapy I’d had in the past put me at a higher risk than having the BRCA gene! 

So, yeah, this time (2 years back) I went for the bilateral mastectomy, and despite it being an extremely hard decision at the time, it feels like a no-brainer now. I started with a lumpectomy, so it was at that point a prophylactic mastectomy, but no regrets about it at all.

I had implant reconstruction, for various reasons (quicker, one less healing site, etc etc) and am very happy with the ‘new girls’ They did that in one op, and I believe the own-tissue one can be done at the same time, but that might be down to your health board, surgeon, and how things are going with the whole covid thing throwing spanners into the works.

It totally sucks to have to go through cancer at all, but then to end up doing it again - and sometimes because of past treatment… yeah, life is cruel. But, we’re still here and lucky for it!

Wishing you the best with what’s ahead, and if I can answer any further questions or you just want to reach out, please do!