How do I decide

I was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday, 18th December, I have to decide whether to have a lumpectomy or mastectomy. If I have a lumpectomy they will take some lymph nodes and will have to have 5 weeks of radiotherapy afterwards with the possibility of further surgery. If I have the mastectomy hopefully that will be it. One minute I am convinced the mastectomy is the way to go, then change my mind and decide the lumpectomy is best. Has anyone had to make this choice?

Hi Maugiff

Sorry you have had to join us here. You will however get a weaIth of help and support from the people here - I know I have.

was diagnosed on Nov 1st and given the option of chemo to shrink the lump - with the potential to then have a lumpectomy - or to go straight for the mastectomy, followed by chemo and rads.

I had no idea which if either was the ‘better’ option - but having read information from the hospital, and on here, and seeing that neither option gave any particular benefits over the other - I went back to see my surgeon and asked her opinion - given that she was the one who had examined me and given me the options. She advised me that, if it were her daughter or herself, she would go for the mastectomy. This decision was based on the size of my lump and the fact that they did not think they would be able to get a clear margin around the lump even after chemo.

So, I trusted her and went with her and had a mastectomy and full node clearance on 13th November.

I cannot advise you one way or the other, but I think perhaps you need to speak some more with your breast care nuse or surgeon and ask which option they feel would be best. At the end of the day it has to be your decision, not theirs, but the more info you have, hopefully the easier it will be to make a decision.

I hope you get sorted with this. please keep us posted

Margaret x

Hi Maugiff

Welcome to the Breast Cancer Care chat forums. I am sure you will get lots of help and advice from the many informed users of this site.

You may find useful BCC’s resource pack helpful which has been designed for those newly diagnosed. The pack is free of charge as are all our publications. If you would like a copy just follow the link below:

If you feel you need to talk to someone in confidence then please give the helpline a call, the staff here are all either breast care nurses or people who have personal experience of breast care issues. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 the lines open Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm and Saturdays 9am - 2pm.

I hope this is of some help to you

Kind regards
Bcc facilitator

Hi Maugiff

This is an awful decision to make - I know.

I had chemo first with the hope of shrinking the tumour so I could just have lumpectomy. It did not shrink as much as they would have like and I ended up having the choice of mastectomy or quaranectomy - where they would have removed the upper out quadrant of the breast and taken a flap from under the arm to try to fill in that area. I was so so confused - but when I asked my surgeon what he would do if it was his wife or daughter he said mastectomy. Even if I had taken the quadranectomy choice - I may still have needed mast if they did not get clear margins etc. I chose mastectomy in the end which I had last monday - I just knkow I could not have lived with myself in the future if I had recurrence in that breast and had to go through the whole chemo route again. There are still no 100% guarantees having had mastectomy but I reckoned less chance of recurrrence this way.

The decision has to be yours and one that you can live with. I wish you all the very best with yourdecision - let us know how you get on. maybe you need to talk to your bc nurse again?


Hi Maugif.
I can’t give you any advice as I had a WLE, but wanted to say how sorry I am that you have had to join us and have this decision to make.

karen x

Hello Maugif

Just wanted to send you some (((HUGS))).
So sorry you have joined us-I know that you will get loads of support in these forums.

My surgeon gave me the choice of mastectomy -or lumpectomy with lymph node removal. I made my decision after obtaining as much information as I could from the professionals and the breast cancer website.

Whatever you decide will be the right decision for you.


Hi Maugif, It must be very hard when you have to make a choice. My consultant just told me I needed to have a mastectomy. Although my tumour was small, there was some calcification around it which might have turned cancerous later. Also, as my breast was not that big, she said that taking a lump out of a small breast would leave an odd shape, whereas after a mastectomy I could have a reconstruction.
There was a lady on the same ward who was given the choice, and she went for a lumpectomy, only to find that they hadn’t got it all and she had to go back for a mastectomy after all.
The best one to advise you is your consultant. They have so much experience. I know it all feels scary at the moment, but you will deal with each stage as it comes. Once the treatment starts I am sure you will feel more positive.
Try to enjoy Christmas with your family and friends. This time next year the worst will be over.
Take care Heidicat

My mum was in the same position as you and she opted for the mastecomy as there was no guarantee they could get all the cancer out. I was told I have breast cancer last week 19.12.07 but I do not have the decision you have to make.

I have chemo 1st then surgery to remover the lump and lymph nodes and radiotheraphy.

Good luck and take care and try to have a good xmas.


Thank you all for your support. I have decided to go for lumpectomy which hopefully I will have on the 14th January. I have Graves disease which gives me overactive thyroid. I have had this condition for the past year and have been on medication but the thyroid is first overactive then under. I have until the 9th of January which is my pre-op to regulate it otherwise the surgeon says he can’t operate. Hopefully the medication will be sorted by then.
Happy New Year to you all and good luck