Margins not clear -excision or mastectomy?

Margins were not clear and I’ve been offered another excision or a mastectomy. Excision plus radio gives same result as mastectomy. But one in five excisions still doesn’t clear the margins, at which point mastectomy. I don’t want more surgeries than necessary … But is that enough reason to go straight to mastectomy? I just can’t decide … Anyone else been through similar? Maybe I should trust that the next excision will work. 

Thanks for any thoughts…

I have an excision scheduled next Thursday.  i am terrified they won’t clear i t all.  They are inserting guide wires the day prior, but you never know.

Hello @karzo  

I’m sorry to hear of your dilemma.It can feel as if you’re going round in perpetual circles or two steps backwards.I don’t know what stage you are at in your treatment but  I understand that re-excision means more waiting for results, and delays before whatever comes next , such as radiotherapy. 

I was faced with much the same decision 2 years’ ago.Everyone is different and I understand   some women decide at this stage that they want a mastectomy just to be sure that every trace of cancer is removed and to avoid further delays.It’s hard to understand as the margins often seem to come down to a matter of millimetres, and sometimes it’s actually only  one margin that isn’t clear-it’s maybe worth asking your team if they can give you more details as to where the problem was  .

One of the factors in reaching my decision and giving it another  go  was that I knew the re-excision was a relatively “minor” operation .It only took about half an hour, so less time under anaesthetic, and the existing  wound was reopened, so no further scars and as I did not need further lymph node surgery, there was no new underarm wound . I knew I had recovered quickly from the previous operation  and therefore  it meant I could be active  and less restricted in what I couldn’t do fairly quickly and  I felt there would be less risk of complications and longer term side effects . (In my case, I already knew I was going to have to have radiotherapy whatever the outcome as I had a positive lymph node from my SLNB. ) I was obviously reluctantly  prepared for the fact it might not be successful  and I might  have to go down the mastectomy route.When you have been the 1 in 5 or whatever, you do start to think everything is going to happen to  you, as statistics mean is has to happen to someone!However, I did feel my team would not have offered me the chance if they did not think it had a good chance of being successful.The downside, obviously, was the sheer torture of waiting for still more  results and I can understand how difficult if feels-almost as if you’re being asked to  toss a coin.

Good luck whatever you decide.

I had lumpectomy (2x7mm tumours to remove but 2 more found in op) but positive margins and dcsi so went for mastectomy to avoid another op of margins were still positive. Week in… have skin expander currently to try and avoid rejection of implant due to thin skin… feels a very slow process but glad all options being openly discussed. Just waiting for next set of results now for treatment…

lumpectomy left my breast really misshapen and out of balance anyway so felt full removal of all tissue would stop me worrying about what was left… need to balance everything anyway with surgery once done. All the best, just get as much info as you can so you can make an informed decision xxx