Mastectomy or lumpectomy

Hi I’m newly (2 weeks) diagnosed with breast cancer and I’ve opted for mastectomy although offered either lumpectomy or mastectomy. I’m now wondering if I’ve made the right decision. My operation is next Monday. What do people thik?

Hi Alemap,

Sorry about your diagnosis and sorry you had to join this site but the support is really fantastic…It really is a hell of a shock and not a time when you want to be making major choices eh?

I didn’t have a choice and had lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy first and then was told that they did not get clear margins and so needed to then have a mastectomy and axillary clearance. With hindsight I honestly would have skipped lumpectomy and opted for mastectomy. I would have avoided 2 operations and 2 recovery periods (with 2 little ones!). That is just my view tho’ my love and a descision that only you can make. If it helps, I now feel that because mastectomy gave clear margins my cancer is gone from boob and I can deal with that. My nodes were positive so I also am having chemo now but if you read on the site - not everyone is the same…

Good luck and all the best for your op, you must do what feels right for you…

Love Hayley x

Whatever you decide will be the right choice for you

Hi Alemap,

I’m having the same problem. My surgeon has recommended the lumpectomy and SNB but the more I think about it, partly because my mum died in her 30’s although I’ve currently no idea whether there is any genetic link, I feel that I would be better to go for the mastectomy. I guess it must be the dilemma lots of us go through - but I’m driving myself a bit round the bend with thinking about it all the time. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide.

Love, Maggie.

I had a lumpectomy for a 1.8mm IDC but the surgeon didn’t get clear margins so I had a re excision. Unfortunately he still didn’t get the margins and suggested a mastectomy. I asked if he would try a further re-excision, he said my breast would be deformed, but I was prepared to do it so he agreed - getting all surrounding DCIS the third time. I have worried about whether I made the right decision, but was reassured that the surgeon wouldn’t have undertaken a third operation if he didn’t think he could succeed, or if I was at any risk. Also I had radiotherapy, and have been told that a WLE plus radio is as effective as a mastectomy. I had axillary clearance, and although had no node involvement, had chemo as lump was grade 3. I have two small children, and found the recovery to be no problem, especially the second and third ops as no drains to worry about.
Cosmetically I have a small dent low in my cleavage but in a bra my breasts look completely symmetrical. A lot depends on the size of the lump, and your breast size. It is such a personal choice but for me it was the right one. I am quite small breasted and never really bothered about them or thought they were a big part of my life, but I was petrified at the prospect of losing one. However - should I ever have any future problems in either breast - I would opt for a mastectomy immediately.
You must do what’s right for you. There are many ladies on here who have undergone mastectomies and have had amazing reconstructions - I’m sure they will reassure you if you make that choice.
Wishing you lots of luck xx


I had a WLE and full axillary clearance. I was told that a WLE followed by radiotherapy gives one the same chance of non- recurrence as a mastectomy.

Good luck with your surgery - whatever you decide.
Anthi x


I wasn’t offered a choice, therefore I think that it’s a positive thing that you were.

Good luck



I was originally offered a choice but a cyst that was 2cm away from my lump was also found to be cancerous, so I had a mastectomy with immediate LD ( back muscle reconstruction ). I am going to have the other breast done next year, as they also found a large area of DCIS ( pre cancer) during the biopsy. I personally don’t want to worry everytime I get a bump or lump for the rest of my life. It’s a very personal decision but if they do the WLE and find anything else you alway have the option of a mastectomy. If I had only the lump I would have definately just had a WLE. I think they give you the option not necesarrily because they think you might need a mastectomy, but because some women just want any future worry removed.

Hope you make the right decision for you.

Take care

Ann xxx

I am scheduled for surgery Mon 14th and have to decide by tomorrow pm whether to have WLE or mastectomy. One lymph node enlarged but doesn’t look malignant from MRI. The lump is 1.2 cm x 9 mm on MRI but is lobular so it’s a)more likely to recur and b)difficult to detect. However, I am thinking well if I have WLE and it comes back, they can take more breast tissue but what if I had mastectomy and it came back in the chest wall? am really in a total dilemma.

Hi Irina
I also had lobular cancer but didn’t have a choice due to the position of the lump under the nipple and being small breasted a WLE wouldn’t have left much.
Regarding a recurrance on the chest wall, yes there may be a possibility but where there is, then rads are offered to reduce the stats. In my case because there was a 1mm clearance between the tumor margin and the chest wall that statistically gave me a 5-10% chance of localised recurrance but rads took that down to 2-3%.
Decision making is so difficult isn’t it?. its great to have choices but sometimes I’d rather it be decided for me!
All the best as you decide

hi there i too was offered lumpectomy or masctctomy as i am only 3 weeks diagnosed i am in a muddle with all the jargon for a start, i have changed my mind what i am havingso many times but have opted for lump dont really know the questions to ask i have ductal invasive cancer grade 3! which means??? my bcn seems to think i have opted for the right choice as i said if needs be then if i have another op it will be to remove it all. i work full time but cant face it at the moment as i seem to be emptying my tear ducts on a regular basis, i hve 2 children the eldest being 14 and he only just opened up to me yesterday after i had been none too nice to ppl (hormones and frustration…MINE ). he sobbed for ages but said he felt better afterwards so some good came of it . i find this is like a journal and i usually feel bit better when i have wrote things down…sorry i am waffling on now. there is so much i want to know but dont know where to start.
good luck to all stay strong and positive
d x

I opted for the mastectomy mainly because at dx I thought “GET IT OFF!!!”. In the cold light of day I still felt the same way. If I’d gone for the lumpectomy I would have needed rads which was logistically difficult to arrange. There was also reduced risk of recurrence with the mastectomy and my cancer had appeared under the scar of a benign lump from 10 years ago. I have had to have further surgery because of lymph nodes - they took my ovaries out too. Hopefully that is an end to all the surgical stuff now but I tend to favour the “chop it out” school of treatment so I am happy with the way things have gone.
Good luck!