Just been diagnosed.

I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer - a complete shock, I wasn’t expecting that. I have already been booked in for a mastectomy but still cant believe it. I really dont know what to ask still in complete shock - but my operation is next Friday. I was told I cant have a reconstruction at this stage but dont know why, should I push it?

Hello Michelle4

Welcome to the forums, this must be a very worrying time for you but you have come to the right place for support from our experienced users who I’m sure will be along to support you soon.

You may also like to talk things through with a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes

June, moderator

Sorry to hear your bad news, lots of ladies have to wait a while for reconstruction but it is important you know why and when you can have one if that is what you want. Start by ringing your BC nurse she will have access to your notes and can answer your questions and if she can’t then ask your consultants secretary if they would ask her or him to give you a ring to explain your options. You will see your consultant before surgery so you could also ask then. Best of luck x

Hi Michelle4 , sorry you find yourself on the cancer pathway. It is a terrible shock when you are first told and you will find all sorts will go through your head some not so rational but I assure you this is a normal reaction.
You say you have your operation next week and I expect the speed of it all you are finding frightening but can I reassure you that the quicker the Consultant can get your op done the better. I presume you have your path lab results and know exactly what your type of tumour is ?. If not you can if you want request this . I found it better to know exactly as some of the other ladies and gents on this website have done. The more I knew the better I could tackle it and was clearer what my treatment plan was.
I had a primary with no node involvement but it is a rare cancer but had two wide local excisions and a sentinel node biopsy so not a mastectomy. I’m assure some of the ladies reading this who have had a mastectomy will get in touch with some helpful advice and tips.
Everyone’s cancer story is different. Get information from this site or the MacMillian one and try not to google as there is a lot of scary stuff out there and these sites are informative and accurate. Use your breast care nurse to talk to that is what they are there for or the nurses on this site. I found telling other members of the family and close friends a real chore as it was so emotionally draining for me and my husband. I would certainly recommend getting one member of the family to tell the others as they will understandably get upset.
Try and keep busy and focused this week as I expect you will have a lot to do before your operation. Best wishes and keep in touch on here on how you are between then and after, best wishes, Katy.

Hi Michelle, really sorry you find yourself in this situation. It is good news they are doing your surgery so quickly. I had a lumpectomy 8 days after diagnosis. If felt almost two soon but once it was done I was really glad it was over before I had too long to worry about it. I notice on your profile that you are a younger women with breast cancer. You may want to join the younger women with breast cancer facebook page. It is a secret group so no one out side the group can see it. I can really recommend it they have been another source of great support for me. If you are interested just search for them on Facebook and send a message. There are sadly over 500 young women on this group, many of which will have been in a similar situation to you. Wishing you all the very best for your surgery.

Hi Michelle, sorry to hear you have joined this club that nobody wants to belong to. I know it’s really hard at the moment, but try and stay positive if you can - they’ve found it and are getting rid of it asap! I had a mastectomy in Jan 2008 and opted for an expander impant as I could have that straight away rather than waiting for the proper reconstruction. Can’t remember now why I couldn’t have an immediate reconstruction, it might have been because I was having radiotherapy after the mastectomy.
As carrie says, your breast care nurse is a good person to ring with any questions or concerns you may have.
Telling others is really hard, Katy’s advice to get one member of the family to tell the rest is a good idea. Once they’ve got over the initial shock of the news it’ll be easier to talk to them. It’ll help having the operation so soon as no doubt you will have a lot to sort out before then, which leaves you less time to sit around getting scared.
Sending you lots of good wishes,

Hi Michelle
Pleased to meet you (so to speak) but wish it were in happier circumstances. I had a mastectomy, but decided against a reconstruction for my own reasons.
One of the reasons they might advise you to delay the reconstruction is that you might need to have radiotherapy. This can affect the recon, so some say it is best to have recon after radiotherapy.
Questions to ask either you breast care nurse or surgeon.

  • What type of cancer do I have? (eg Ductal Invasive)
  • Is my cancer hormone sensitive or HER 2 +/-?
  • Will I have a sentinal node biopsy?
    They are just suggestions, you might already have been told the answers to them.
    When I had my mx (with snb) I felt no pain afterwards, but did have to have a drain for five days. This is more a nuisance than anything else, but a relief when you have it taken out.
    Sending big hugs and wishing you well for next Friday.
    Poemsgalore xxx

Hi my lovely! I am sorry that you have had to join this group but it really is the best place to be. Such a big support network and as they have already said, don’t google, just stay on this site and Macmillan sites. I was diagnosed on the 3rd July, I had my op on the 16th July, WLE, lumpectomy and nipple reconstruction all in one! Please get yourself a note pad! Write every question that you have down, and ask your bcn! They don’t mind! That is why they are there. I had my meeting with my BC nurse yesterday for the first time on my own (always with family members there) and found it really helpfull (with no family there) I could talk more openly, SHOCK is how I would Sum it all up! I am 44 years old and this has all happened very quickly, funny though, 44 and that makes me feel old! Take care, big hugs AND sweet dreams Sarah xxx

Thank you for your support, I dont really have much information at all. I know I have 2 lumps in the right breast one a grade one and the other 19mm and a grade 2 with some lymph involvement under the arm. I have an appointment today at the breast clinic so plan to ask what type of cancer they are. They have not said if it is a primary or not, I got lead to believe they tell me this from the histology done on the breast tissue they take away? I did have 6 biopsies taken so am not sure why they dont know from them. Hopefully I will have more answers after today.
Many thanks

Can anyone give me any advise on whether I should have the retainer bags put in whilst I’m having my mastectomy or just go for the mastectomy and worry about the reconstruction after chemo etc.

Hi Michelle. I am sorry you’ve joined us but you will find lots of help and support in this site. It’s been a real lifeline for me. I had a mastectomy in January and the lymph nodes in my armpit removed at the same time. I had a 3cm lump and two nodes were unaffected. The op went well and I had little pain after the first couple of days and no infection or any complications. The scar was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. I also had a tissue expander implant inserted - they are sometimes called Becker’s after the doctor who invented them. My surgeon advised it to help preserve as much skin as possible and to give me the best chance of a decent reconstruction. It is also advised if you are having radiotherapy after chemo as radiotherapy can affect a full implant. I have now had the implant expanded after chemo. Your consultant or registrar will inject saline into it through a little ‘port’ under your skin in a few appointments over a few weeks (depending on the size of your implant!). It doesn’t hurt - just a little discomfort as the tissue is stretched. Some people are quite happy just with that. Others then go to have it replaced with a silicon implant. I am planning on having mine replaced. Mainly it’s because a kind of ‘capsule’ has formed around mine so it is harder than it should be. This happens some times and your consultant will talk to you about it. I hope this helps you to decide what to do and I hope the op goes well and you recover quickly. It all seems very frightening but you will get through it and come out the other side.
Angie xx