Mastectomy Vs Lumpectomy - advice

I found out three weeks ago I have a Grade 2 cancer in my right breast which requires a mastectomy and now I’ve been told I have a Grade 1 cancer in my left breast which only needs a lumpectomy. I’m 42 and want to do anything to reduce the risk of the cancer returning once I’ve battled these two ‘issues’. The nurse tells me a lumpectomy is as effective as mastectomy but I’m wondering if a bilateral is the better option?? Any advice?

Hi Trappys

Firstly, welcome to the forums, I am sure some of the other users will be a long to offer you their support soon.

In the mean time you might find it helpful to order the BCC resources pack. It has been specifically designed for those newly diagnosed and contains information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and the various treatments available. If you would like to order a copy just follow the link bellow:-

Also, if you would like to talk things through do give the helpline a ring and chat with a member of staff who will offer you emotional support as well as practical information. They’re on 0808 800 6000. Open 9-5 Monday to Friday and 10-2 Saturday.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

I had a lumpectomy first time round. The surgeon told me he considered it best because it still left them with a surgical option if it were to return. I did go on to get a second BC, but not for 21 years, and it is a new primary completely unrelated to the first. Now sitting in my hospital bed after mastectomy on Monday.

One thing worth bearing in mind, should you want a reconstruction, is that you might have better symmetry with a bilateral op and also any radiotherapy will limit your options (so you might decide to go for Mx if it allows you to skip the rads and have implants). In my case, I am a challenge for the plastic surgeons because I can’t have an implant due to the rads and have very little fat available for an autologous recon. Hope I haven’t muddied the waters too much for you. It’s certainly not an easy decision to make. Best wishes whatever you decide to do.

Hi Trappys
I was faced with the same difficult decision last July, and ended up with a mastectomy and implant on the left and a lumpectomy (and uplift) on the right. I found the decision really agonising, and the psychologist that my BCN referred me too really helped. Is this an option for you? Talking all the options (and the unknowns) over with someone who is sympathetic but not personally involved was absolutely invaluable for me.
There is no right or wrong decision. Having different ops on each side means I am not symetrical but it’s not that bad. Originally I had thought that having a mastectomy meant that I wouldn’t have to have radiotherapy on that side, but in the end I had to have it on both sides anyway as the margins were quite small. I am keeping my fingers crossed that my implant is not affected (although my surgeon believes that even if it is that it can be sorted surgically). I have been told by several different consultants that a lumpectomy plus radiotherapy plus hormone treatment is as effective as a mastectomy in hopefully preventing any return of BC.
Good luck with your decision. You will make the right one for you, and if you can get the help of a pcychologist or counsellor I am sure it will help you while you are thinking things through.
Louis xx

Thank you for your replies which were very helpful. After a really good think, some research and speaking to various people, I have decided to go for a lumpectomy on the left side. I’ve had a dreadful week waiting back from bone and CT scans to see if the cancer had gone elsewhere (which fortunately hasn’t.) With those preying on my mind, it’s hard to think straight. I’m all set for my ops on Thursday. The waiting is now over and I can finally start the process of getting rid of this hideous disease.
Many thanks

That’s a good decrisption. Go for the ‘decision every time’. Chemo isn’t good. It’s ok, it’s good, if you keep your head down.