Mastectomy w/o hormone suppression?

I am newly diagnosed, stage 1, no lymph involvement. I’m 47, no family history of any cancers, still ovulating regularly. My surgeon recommends lumpectomy, radiation and tamoxifen, but says mastectomy is option, too.

Was on testosterone last year for mood and menstrual regulation, but it put me into menopause for a while. I’m, and everyone in my family, am extremely sensitive to hormones, so it was a mental disaster for me. I’m not scared of this diagnosis at all, just of living for years with the side effects of the medications.

What I want to know is if having a double mastectomy will give me the option of not having to do hormone therapy.  Has anyone made a choice like this? Is it even “allowed?”

 Hi Trouble

I can understand your dilemma but it’s based on some preconceptions and assumptions about a disease that is so varied and unpredictable. I’m sorry to sound so negative at a time when you need cheering on and encouragement. Mastectomy removes your tumour and, being Stage 1, will remove your cancer . However, it’s not a guarantee against further breast cancer - look at the number of men who get it. You don’t need a breast. Prostheses are not a great option afterwards, especially in our recent hot weather. It can all be very cumbersome. Implants would be an option. But none of this will guarantee you will never get a recurrence. Hence hormone therapy.

You’re assuming hormone treatment will be intolerable, given your recent experience. There are different brands which are tolerated differently by women. You won’t know till you try. I experienced some much needed weight gain from taking anastrozole (post-menopausal) but if the pharmacist changed my brand, I experienced unpleasant side effects. Put me back on my original brand and I’d be fine. It’s strange.

I’d suggest a good conversation with both your oncologist and your breast care nurse (may have a different perspective) once you’ve learnt from the responses I hope you get here, before committing yourself to unnecessary and irreversible surgery. 

All the best xx