Just diagnosed, mastectomy or not.

I was diagnosed with BC on Wednesday. I had two lumps and had them both removed one was DCIS and the other invasive DC. They also told me because there were two separate lumps it is possible I could get more.I have been given the choice of having a mastectomy or more tissue removed, what a choice and one I could have done without.
I am finding it very hard to make my decision, one minute I think yes and a bit later I think no.It was awful having to wait for the biopsy results but I have felt better since I got them. I have got to have more surgery in just over a week to remove the lymph nodes so whatever I decide on it will be done at the same time. I know it has to be my decision but I wondered if anyone else has been in a similar situation?
Bridget x

Dear kindbee,

It may help to talk things over with one of our Helpline staff. They can provide a “listening ear”, information and support. The Helpline can be accessed from abroad. The number is
+44 2076 200 077. Opening times are UK times- 9.00am-5.00pm on weekdays and 9.00am- 2.00pm on Saturdays.

Very best wishes

BCC Facilitator

Hi Janet,

I’m sure it’s right to talk things over with the Helpline staff. You obviously need to decide what you really want. But how long have you got to decide, I wonder?

If I were you I would want a second opinion, but I suppose that might not be feasible. Personally, I had two lumps and one DCIS. In the operation the pathologist asked for more to be removed - I think about 600 grams went. I am overweight and so had enough to spare, but I am very one-sided now. However, that’s not your problem.

What I am wondering is why they would say that you might get more in the same breast. Surely if they operate to leave a clear margin, and remove both lumps, the danger must be removed? And if not, why do they give you the choice? Maybe talk to them again?

I’m not sure how much help this is, but I suppose if you really don’t want a mastectomy, you shouldn’t ask for one. Or do they mean they might have to operate a third time? That does happen sometimes.

Best wishes whatever you decide,


All I can say is that living with one boob is no big deal, not to me anyway, and I am only 36 years old.

I had WLE, margin clearance and then full mx. I really get the feeling that they do everything they can to save the boob, because the male surgeons think women will not possibly cope with only one (or none), boobs when the reality is being alive with one boob is much better than being dead with two.

The actual op is not that bad, the lymph node part is much worse…

Good luck making your decision.

I was just told that the odds were the same for me whether I had a WLE plus 15 rads or a mx. Without really understanding why, I went for the smaller operation and I am glad I made that decision. I also had a sentinel node biopsy so my scars are extremely small and I have been fortunate to have far fewer long term side effects than friends who had bigger ops. However, I would not have hesitated if I had been advised to have a mx. So maybe you should ask if the odds are the same for you. I had not realised until friends started showing me scars (mostly we do this in restaurants ha ha) that it leaves such a hollow and how high up the dent goes. I had not even thought about holidays and swimming costumes and life afterwards. So my first question would be, is there any difference in odds, any chance of more tumours in there they have not seen. Then if it is still the same odds look at some pictures of ladies after each op to see how you react. It is very personal. My friend really felt it could not come back if she had a mx and wanted it gone. I felt differently. She has since gone through an enormous recon operation successfully as she was finding it hard to have the constant reminder and loves her new boob and all the normal clothes she can wear again. If you have the choice you are more fortunate than some.
Lots and lots of luck with your decision and as long as it is what you want, it will be the right one for you. Good luck with the op and keep us posted
Lily x

i was told on thur i have dcis and need a maatectomy, i dont know how i feel about this but before i was told i needed it they said they would phone to tell me how much i needed taken away, i was talking to other half and said i didnt think i was happy bout them only taking a section incase it came back but now the desision has been taken out of my hand i have came to terms with it. I still havent had appointment with ps so i phoned the hosp and expect it to come on mon, I just want it gone so i can move on and be me again, Im having recon at same time so will wake up with a new boob. Im am so lucky i dont need cemo or rad so when i come out of he hosp after recovery everything should go back to a new norm dont no if this helps but make the right desision for you x

I like you was given the news I had bc on Thureday. I have been very well prepared by my breast cacer nurse but it still left me a little numb. My real problem is my husband, he has not spoken of it, didn’t come for either appointment and is going away for 2 weeks on the day I go in for surgery. Has anyone had this sort of reaction? if so how have you dealt with it? I feel I can not let my feelings show and that is very hard. Thanks for reading and good luck to you all

I was diagnosed with a small area of DCIS but as they couldn’t achieve clear margins I had to have another lumpectomy. The bad news was that the DCIS area was so large that I had to have a full mx in February 2010.
The three operations were constant bad news for me but I’m glad I did it in stages as each time I had hope that they had done enough!
The news of the mx was such a horrid shock but because of an infection after 2nd op I couldn’t have an immediate reconstruction. Now with a fully healed mx, the right prosthesis and good underwear I am confident with my new shape. I doubt very much whether I will willingly go into hospital again so I intend to live just how I am. No reconstruction!
It has not been an easy journey but I have survived it!

However, the state of my body after 2nd op was so ugly that if that was the end of the journey I definitely couldn’t live with that level of deformity and would have undertaken a reconstruction.
Having no breast at all isn’t great but I don’t feel deformed!
I’m not sure if I’m explaining this very well… but the deformed breast was so much more upsetting!
It will be a decision only you can reach but I thought I would share my story having gone through all three stages!!!

I think having a choice with BC treatment is really tough. I was given a similar choice initially. I needed chemotherapy first, which I was told would also shrink the tumour, then probably give me the option of Breast conserving surgery. I found it really difficult to make the choice- spoke to my BCN who was supportive and advised me. She recommended being quite direct and asking for an appt to speak to the surgeon about specific pros and cons, details about how likely it was for me to need several operations to achieve clear margins (I really wanted the least ops possible)and which he would advise if it were his wife or daughter. I didn’t quite have the nerve to do that last one but if you do…, however it did make me really focus my questions to him, and he was clear and straight with his answers… I see that you have to make the decision soon, but it is a tough one, so if you need to do ask to speak to the nurse or surgeon again. I tend to agree with Grtechen that male surgeons have a take based on what they think a woman must feel about her breasts, which is why I spoke to the BCN first. In the end I didn’t have an option, but I had come to the decision to go for mx by then.
All the best with whatever you choose.

Dear Kindbee
I have found the whole process numbing. Had my surgery end of August found could not take all the information and choices in when I saw the breast surgeon, was still reeling from the diagnosis. I have worked in the medical profession for over 30 years and I thought I would be able to deal with the situation, but its floored me. I left the decsion with the surgeon as he is the expert. Personally could not think rationally myself. Was initially told would just need radiotherapy after surgery but when I had my post op appt as tumour twice size initially thought will need Chemo.
Surgeon performed excellent job WLI & mammoplasty obviously breast not exactely as it was before but the cancer has been removed which is a relief. Start the Chemo 11th Oct looking on this as added insurance and general mop up of any stray cancer cells.
I am sure you will make the right decision. Don,t do anything you are not comfortable with. This website is brilliant for information and the helpline is good. This is what they do well so use them.
Hope all goes okay keep us all informed and know your not alone.
Maggie x

Thanks for all the replies it does help to hear from other people. I saw my surgeon again yesterday and he had spoke to the oncologist, and they have advised me to have another piece of tissue removed from the breast and get a biopsy done on that. I shall also be having all my lymph nodes removed at the same time. I am quite happy with the decision, once we get the results back then I shall have to decide whether or not to go for a mastectomy, fingers crossed the results won’t be too bad. My surgery is booked for next Tuesday 12th Oct, just want to get the surgery out of the way now and then I shall know what other treatment will follow.

Hello Kindbee

I was in an almost identical situation to you 5 years ago and infact today its 5 years to the day since my operation. I was absolutely floored byt he decision being left to me, I thought they know better than me how can I decide. But after having spoken with the BCN and the surgeon who was also a woman (fantastic lady now at Bolton I believe), she said that if I did decide to try having a lumpectomy the remaining breast would be very deformed and it could then still turn out that they needed to operate again. In the end I decided to go for mx and reconstruction at the same time followed by 8 chemo sessions and I am so glad I did. Okay its not an easy decision but it really does put your mind at rest that it can’t come back, and with having the reconstruction at the same time you don’t wake up from the op without a breast. I am sure that you will make the right decision for you and as with all of us on here you have to go for what feels right for you and we can only share our own experiences. I know its so frightening for you at the moment and my heart goes out to you. But try not to be frightened you really don’t know anything about the operation and are pretty much out of it for a few days afterwards and time does fly by. Let us all know how you get on and the decision you make - my very best wishes to you.

with love xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Hi kathybro,

I’ve just seen your post and wanted to say I’m sorry that it got missed amongst the other posts on this thread.

In answer to your question - no, I’ve not had this sort of reaction. Can I ask, is this typical of your husband’s behaviour - would he normally be actively supportive and communicative, or not? If the former, he may well be suffering from shock and just needs some time. If the latter … well then he may have issues. My ex had both Aspergers and absolutely zero EQ and would almost certainly have reacted in the same way if he’d had to handle my diagnosis. Instead, I have had terrific support from friends and am sure that you will receive the same if you let people know that your husband is struggling with your diagnosis.

Good luck with your treatment and I hope that you get things resolved with your husband.

Debs x