Lumpectomy Dense Breasts and Clear Margins

Hi All,

I had my surgery yesterday and have been met with very optimistic positive surgeons and BCN the whole time since diagnosis that my Cancer was small and its very positive.

However yesterday after surgery my Surgeon wasn’t his usual positive self with regards to my surgery and said that we have to wait for lab results and I have extremely dense and hormanal breasts and sometimes we have to do another surgery.

I was in theatre longer than expected I’m assuming because of this reason.

I was out of it yesterday so didn’t ask many questions. But now I’m more focused I’m panicking again. I’ve gone from being so calm and happy my cancer is out to worrying again.

They new I had dense breasts so surely this wasn’t a surprise plus does this now mean its not as small and as great as they kept telling me… omg I hate this :sob: 4 weeks of now being scared again :tired_face:

Anyone else here had dense breasts and clear margins or had to have surgery again due to this DB problem??

Also did anyone have a different result to what they originally told you before surgery. I have had the same constant reassuring message that its a certain size, grade and stage but now not so sure. :tired_face:


Hi @kat-jack I’m sure other women who have been in your situation will be along shortly to give you their experiences but in the meantime I was told before my surgery that 1 in every 10 who have a lumpectomy have to go back because the surgeons didn’t get clear margins. So it is quite a common situation to be in. In fact one of my closest friends had this very thing in January and had to wait four weeks whilst the analysis was done to find out if they had finally got clear margins (they had).

It is true that diagnosis can change once surgery has been done and the extracted tumour has been analysed. The size, in particular, can change when they finally get the tumour out. Mine went from 9mm to 14mm after surgery and they found a DCIS close by so got that out too. It is also true that having dense breasts makes it more difficult to be 100% accurate in diagnosis before surgery, there’s no shying away from that, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to get bad news. Your medical team have been very positive before and they are the experts so hang on to that.

Unfortunately we all know that waiting for results is excruciating and I know it’s going to be front and centre of your mind until you hear. My advice would be to talk to people who understand during this period. So if you are near a Maggie’s for example, go in and talk. If MacMillan have an outlet in your hospital, go in and talk. Call the Breast Cancer Now nurses on 0808 800 6000 and talk. This will give you some breathing space to think about other things once you’ve got your fears out in the open. Come back here too as you are amongst friends who have been there. Right now, you have a small tumour and an excellent prognosis and that is that until you are told differently.


I had what my consultant described as “very dense breast tissue” :see_no_evil: My cancer was 15mm and then they found 43mm DCIS in tissue they removed that didn’t show on any scans! Thankfully, although the consultant said it was a “difficult operation” and I “made her earn her money” that day, I did get clear margins. I hope the same for you. I did meet another lady the day of my op who was having her second excision 2 weeks after her first. Whilst I am sure it was less than ideal, she was happy to be back to make sure and she had recovered well in that initial period. Clear margins first time is obviously the least worst option stresswise and physically but you’ve got this either way :kissing_heart:



Just spoke with Surgeon as I had to stay over night. He basically said he removed the small tumour but I have Hormanal changes and lots of cysts and lumps everywhere and he doesn’t know if they are cancer until my lab results.

All those cysts and lumps and density they knew about so why is this now an issue why the change of attitude towards my cancer also what does Hormanal changes even mean!!! I kept telling them my breasts are always Hormanal lumpy and very sore all the time… thats why I want a mastectomy but was told that was too radical for my tiny curable cancer.

I’m so scared now absolutely gutted and scared.

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Oh @kat-jack that absolutely sucks. No-one on this forum is qualified to offer an explanation as to what the surgeon means specifically. I’m not sure I’ve heard of someone having “hormonal” breasts before. Presumably you won’t be seeing the surgeon again before you are discharged from the hospital but is there any way you can make contact with the breast cancer nurse who works in his team? We all have a nurse assigned to us and she may well understand the way he describes things better through having worked with him. I can see how being lulled into a sense of security throughout and then having the rug pulled out from you is tough to take. Who are you going home to? Will you have plenty of practical support and moral support? Once again, I recommend having a conversation with the BC Now nurses on 0808 800 6000 as soon as possible. You can do this between 9am-4pm Monday to Friday or between 9am-1pm on Saturday. If you are able to get home in this time frame today it would be worth a conversation. Wish I could give you a big hug right now.

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Hi K
Wait and see your results and what treatment plan you will be offered , don’t rush into a mastectomy it’s a big step and especially if you don’t need it , took me ages to come to terms with loosing my right breast , hope all goes well for you xx



Sadly I have suffered for years with extremely painful and uncomfortable breasts. I have a A/B cup and have zero love for my breasts.

I have had my children and breastfeed them both I play alot sports and they really hurt me due to all the cysts and lumps I have. I even strugge sleeping because of how sore they are.

Even without Cancer I wouldn’t of been concerned loosing them. I really want them gone even more now. My breasts and I are 100% over I have no need for them and no love for them. Thankfully my Hubby is realy supportive of this also.

I completely understand that this sounds drastic to others but it really doesn’t to me and would be a huge relief.



I think there are more women than you’d think who feel like that. Paging @Kay0987 as an example (sorry Kay!)


Hello again @kat-jack

I’m so sorry to read your posts and hear how distressed you are at this time. It sounds to me that more than anything you are angry at not being listened to: there is nothing worse when you feel like you have thought things through

Unfortunately you are still at an early point in the (I hate the word but can’t think of a better one at this point) “journey” and it sounds to me that you may well have taken the diagnosis much like I did “it’s small” “it’s inconvenient” “a blip in the road” but as time progressed I came to realise that my initial thoughts were perhaps a bit inaccurate

On the positive side I’m now almost three years post diagnosis, and can honestly say my life is so much better than it was pre-diagnosis, it does however take time and patience is absolutely key.

I hope you get home soon and allow yourself time to be with your family (let them take care of you!) and time to process everything that has happened so far. I would most definitely ring one of the nurses on the helpline

I promise it will get better

AM xxx


Ha! Hi Tigress!! But yes, Kat, I was just like you. Hated my natural breasts and to be quite frank breast cancer gave me a chance to do something about it. I have never ever regretted them being gone. I remember the day of my surgery, looking down and thinking, these are the last time I’m going to see these things. Should I say something? Feel something? And then I just realized I truly didn’t care. Put my top down and marched right back into the surgical waiting room and didn’t think anything else about them being gone. Woke up from surgery ecstatic. Anyway, I wish the same for you :slight_smile:

Oh. I replied below, Kat, but just realized there was more to your story after reading this comment. I am so sorry. The decision making progress in the UK belongs more to your doctors it seems than it does you guys. It’s the opposite in the US. I am not sure why so many assume women don’t know what they want with their body. Just because we can keep our breasts doesn’t mean we want to and our emotional needs are just as valid as our physical ones. I wish you so much luck arguing for a mastectomy. Because I would argue. And don’t give up. You don’t want your breasts anymore especially now that they’ve proved they can make cancer. That feeling is valid and should be honored. Remind them that they’ll save money on monitoring you if they let you have the mastectomy. In the long run, it will be more cost efficient especially considering your breasts are cystic and dense. That’s a fertile ground for future issues statistically.

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