Need further surgery (mastectomy after lumpectomy) and thinking of no reconstruction

I had a left-breast lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy 10 days ago. Went to discuss my results today and it was mixed news, which has left me in shock and confused.

My invasive lump was smaller than thought, 16mm, and nodes were clear. But, the grade was upped from 2 to 3 and there was a smattering of DCIS all around in some fatty tissue surrounding the invasive lump. This worried the team because none of this had showed on any of the scans. I also found out that I’m HER2 positive, as well as ER and PR. 

The plan is to have a mastectomy and then to reconsider chemo or radio, which terrifies me. I’d really like to hear from people who’ve had a mastectomy, particularly anyone who has gone for no reconstruction, which is what I’m thinking of. I’m 60 and figure that looks are really not that important to me, but I AM too scared to have unnecessary ops or foreign bodies put in and the associated risks of that.

I’m also terrified of chemo as I’ve got an underlying endocrine condition, which might make that very very difficult. 

Has anyone else gone flat on one side? Are there other options in this case? Are there any other questions I should ask?

I am due to have a mascetomy on one side on the 29th Dec. I am 45 and not planning to have reconstruction. I hope I’ve made right decision! 

Hi there YJ,

I had a mastectomy on 23/11. Our local hospital doesn’t do any reconstruction, but the breast surgeon there has an excellent reputation, so I opted for mastectomy with an idea I would have further surgery in the future, probably after finishing radio and/or chemotherapy. But actually I’ve decided I’m OK with being flat on one side. The wound is healing well, and I ordered some bras and crop tops to hold the soft prosthesis, and I think it looks ok. I’m an active 62 year old, and I’ve seen some nice swimsuits and vest tops online, which should be fine. I don’t think I want to put myself, or my family, through quite a complex operation and recovery. At the moment I’m grateful for my good recovery so far, but obviously anxious to hear what the next step will be.

Just come back to me if you want any specific information about the op.

Best wishes,


I had a mastectomy in August 2020 after a diagnosis of DCIS. Originally the surgeon proposed a wide local excision, but an MRI scan found further areas to be removed making mastectomy the best option.

I chose not to have any reconstruction. I also don’t wear a softie or anything. Totally happy with how things have gone.


I just wanted to send you a virtual hug  

You are a few days ahead of me; I’m day 9 post surgery, and I haven’t had my results yet.

I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through right now, I just know that our journeys seem to come with constant kicks to the guts don’t they.

If I was given the same news as you, I think I would be inclined to got fully flat, mainly to get it all out. 
whatever your decision; good luck, stay strong and keep telling yourself how bloody amazing you are

Hi from an adopted Yorkshire lass.

I’m a strong advocate for what I call monoboobery. I had my mastectomy in 2018 and it was assumed I would want a softie (padded prosthesis in general sizes to pop in your bra) and then a prosthesis. I have countless mastectomy bras and two prostheses (I gained weight on hormone therapy) and I’ve decided during shielding that I’m going to go flat out for monoboobery. If it bothers anyone, tough. It’s far more comfortable than the fortress bra and prosthesis that tends to veer to the centre, pulled by the wight of my real boob. You just have to adapt your wardrobe as horizontal stripe tend to waver a bit!

I too was terrified of chemotherapy as I have emetophobia (fear of anything vomit-related) but the hospital bent over backwards to accommodate my quirks and fears and I’m glad I did it. I never was sick, after all that agonising. If your health condition puts you at any risk, they will discuss all the options but don’t be misled by the statistics. You might get told that chemo will increase your chances of full recovery by 2%. Hardly worth it? Sounds piffling but it might be 60% or 100% for you and 0% for others. I would always say go for anything that will strengthen your chance of avoiding a recurrence. But that’s a personal opinion. 

The fact that your nodes are clear is excellent. If it helps, I had two lumps of different types and 19/21 lymph nodes infected yet I’d had a clear mammogram 6 months earlier and my first ultrasound showed nothing, My breast surgeon was shocked that the tiny biopsy he did on two tiny bumps on my areola showed breast cancer. Then it was test after test. I had 4 diagnoses in as many weeks. Being HER positive simply means different chemo and treatment options. It’s being negative for all three that is the worrying result.

My advice would be to trust your team. If they suggest a treatment, it will be something you will benefit from. No surgery they do is unnecessary and those foreign bodies added to your system can do powerful work to help ensure you don’t have a recurrence or a spread of cells elsewhere in the body. It happens (you should see my eyelid - and I had the full works but I also had a tumour that was triple negative). I would always say take what’s offered and stay away from Google. If you have questions, the nurses’ helpline here is brilliant. Googling can be disastrous.

Having a mastectomy can be traumatising but there are choices after that. You may choose reconstruction if two breasts is essential to your sense of self. You can wear a mastectomy bra and prosthesis and no one will know but you. Or you can adopt monoboobery, comfortable but taking a bit of courage (I was shocked the first time I met a woman openly flaunting her unbalanced chest).

All the best

Jan x

Sorry to hear the news of your results .

no words of wisdom for you im

afraid - just good wishes.

my results were postponed from Monday until tomorrow :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:

I am sorry to hearing that and I hope that you have made a wise decision. Sorry that nobody reply to a such important text. I am living the same moment as yours.  Feel completely confused, tomorrow the meeting with the Consultant for a Mastectomy decision. I am 61 and not very keen on the reconstruction, Do you have any thoughts for sharing? Xx

I am in the same your condition. Awaiting the date for the Mastectomy and the reconstruction is something very scary to me 

I just want to solve the medical issue and keep the cosmetic part away from my future life.

I hope that we you have solved your problem and I hope you are enjoying the life back

Warm wishes,