I was recently diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer, had mammogram, ultrasound then biopsy which confirmed, I’m 48ish, preparing myself for surgery but everything feels weird, like it’s not me, I have no pain to speak of just some discomfort and apart from always being tired I feel ok. But I’m scared! It’s lumpectomy or mastectomy, I need to decide. Any advice is welcomed.
Welcome to the forum, though no doubt you’d never have wished to be here.
What you describe sounds familiar to me - I was diagnosed with the same just over a year ago and for a while it felt really surreal, as though i was watching someone else from the outside, and watching people going about their daily lives but knowing mine had changed. It does take a while for the diagnosis to sink in and get your head around it all, not least of which is the new “language” we have to learn - WLE, SNB, Grade and Stage etc.etc etc. A steep learning curve!
I too was offered the choice between a lumpectomy (WLE) or mastectomy, and for me it was no contest, as for people who are lucky enough to be able to be given the choice the outcome is reckoned to be the same whether you have the mastectomy or lumpectomy in terms of prognosis and the future, so I opted for the lumpectomy. I had radiotherapy and am now on a hormone tablet for 5 years. I am really pleased with my choice but you have to decide what is important to you. When i asked my consultant some months later why, if the outcomes where the same, he had even mentioned a mastectomy as a choice, he said that some ladies like the peace of mind of having everything taken away. For me, I like still having a boob, even one with a faint scar across it, and the surgery, radiotherapy and hormone tablet give me peace of mind! If you haven’t already done so you might want to discuss pros and cons further with your consultant so you are comfortable with whatever you choose.
You will find this site a mine of information and support. Best to stick only with the threads that relate to your own stage of diagnosis as your treatment progresses, and don’t be tempted to google, as a lot of info out there is out of date and inaccurate - this site and Macmillan are the recommended sites.
Ask anything you need to on here and someone will be sure to be along with a response. xxx
And welcome to the forum.
Like Optimmisy, I chose lumpectomy because I didn’t want to lose my breast. I wanted to appear the same at the end of treatment. The down side is that there is always the fear of it returning. Only you can decide what’s best for you.
Best wishes and please come and chat or ask questions whenever you want.
Same age as me exactly when I was diagnosed in March 2016. I wasn’t offered the option, lumpectomy was the ‘option’ given followed by radiotherapy. I was told at the time that this was as successful as lumpectomy in terms of prognosis for me. I guess, if they are offering the option to you, then it is very much down to your personal preference and what you psychologically feel ‘happier’ with. Each option has pros and cons (hey, Im really helpful aren’t I, as I wasn’t offered the other option), like recovery time for example. Some women really want the breast gone, for some that is a massive fear and they’d rather keep it. So, I guess for you its about searching in your mind about your gut feelings, and asking the professionals to answer any questions you might have. Whilst people here can give their own views, and decision, they may not have the same feelings and views as you…which are paramount here in your surgery choice. Weigh up everything, but mostly go with your own strength of feeling.
I remember that ‘weird’ feeling, bc was something others had and putting myself in that boat was just surreal. The first time I ever used the word oncologist it felt as if the world had dropped on me. It 'll get easier, stay strong and stick around x
Hi, I was diagnosed on 8th Dec with the same and am scheduled for a ‘wire wide local excision and sentinel node biopsy on 10 Jan. my tumour was picked up on regular mammogram, no lump felt at all! I know exactly how you feel and I also feel like it’s not me as there are no obvious symptoms. They didn’t offer me a mastectomy but I wonder if that depends on the size of the tumour? I am no expert…just remember you are not alone, us women are stronger than we think, I am so surprised on how I am handling my diagnosis…
Hi Jax,welcome to the forum .Good luck with your op .I was diagnosed by regular mammogram too - had no lump /symptoms - yes the size of the tumour affects the decision re lumpectomy /mastectomy .Its a very surreal experience particularly when you have no symptoms at all !
Yes there have been a few ladies who have had that happen -I was " lucky " they did wire insertion at same hospital on morning of op.The wire will be taped down and it’s quite high up - above top of bra line -so should be ok no matter what you wear but prob wouldn’t want to be pulling tight fitting top over your head in case it rubs against it .
Yes lots of support and advice here -it’s a great forum - saved my sanity when I was diagnosed 2.5 years ago .
Hi Annig I’m 52 and had the same BC as you and was offered a lumpectomy or mastectomy (with reconstruct if I want this). I decided to have a mastectomy due to the size (largeish) and the area of the tumour and my surgery was 2 wks ago day case. I also had sentinel node biospsy. Ive decided to delay reconstruct because I want to get used to my new body. It wasn’t an easy decision to make and pre surgery I spoke to friends who went through similar experiences, my GP and my hubby as well as weighing up the pros & cons and I made sure that I felt comfortable with my decision. My post op appointment confirmed I am tumour free and my nodes are clear. I am now waiting for the onco dx test to determine whether I may/may not benefit from chemo. I will also need to take meds for 5-10 yrs. I understand the weird feeling and being scared. I didn’t feel as if I had BC. No pain, just exhaustion which I put down to the emotional and physiological side of the diagnosis. Only you will know what’s best for you and your situation. Go with your gut feeling. Speak to family and friends if you are able too. My GP helped me to make my decision and I don’t regret it. There is so much support on these forums which has really helped me to stay positive and focused and will do the same for you. I wish you all the best with your decision and surgery.
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to reply, yesterday , before joining this forum, i was lost, now I think I am ready to take it on! Need to get as much info as possible, still got time to decide which surgery but I’m more inclined to go for mastectomy for various reasons, . Will keep checking in, but thank you all.
I can only give my opinion from my experience… I wasn’t really given the choice, my surgeon recommended a skin sparing mastectomy as due to the location & size of the tumour my boob would be quite deformed after a lumpectomy, he said he could get a better result (looks wise) doing a mastectomy & reconstruction.
Thank goodness I didn’t push for lumpectomy because when I went back for my two week post surgery check up he told me the pathology results - shockingly they found 10cm (yes that is centimetres) of dcis which hadn’t been spotted on the mammo! He said they call it the silent killer!
Also because I’d had a mastectomy I didn’t need radiotherapy, although I still required chemo as I was triple negative.
best of luck x
Hi Jan and Annig,
I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in August and was only offered a lumpectomy at the time with surgery within a week. Due to unclear margins I had another lumpectomy in October and a mastectomy 4 weeks ago. I opted not to have reconstruction as I didn’t feel it was right for me and asked my breast surgeon for the best possible cosmetic results with no extra skin. It’s important to go with what you feel is right for you.
The breast surgeons at my local hospital request that you attend the day surgery ward at 7:30 regardless of what time your operation is scheduled. I didn’t go down to theatre for the first op until after 14:30 and felt awful as was told not to eat after midnight or have anything to drink after 6:00am. I was a bit wiser for the following ops and had some cereal at 22:00 and made sure I got 2 mugs of black tea before the 6:00am deadline.
It is important to do the exercises you have been given, although would suggest that you try them before you have your surgery as you will not be trying to do something you could not achieve before your op.
I found it uncomfortable to wear a bra for the first fortnight following my mastectomy but once I had the dressings removed needed something to support the seroma that had developed. I ended up getting a Coobie bra from the US and crochet myself a boob until I was able to wear the softie I had been given from the hospital.
Good luck to you both for your forthcoming operations.
Hi Annig …lots of very good tips and advice on this thread…the only thing I can add is please feel free to go back as often as you need to ask questions…go with a long list, no matter how silly they feel…
what is is important here, is that you make your very best decision in the light of evidence you have at the time…I had chemo before my op so I had about 6 months to think about things such as wether I wanted a recon, which kind etc and I did investigate intensively…I later was told I had to have the mastectomy, which at least did not put me in your position… there is always time to decide, to change your mind if need be.
i was thinking that in your shoes…being me, I’d want to know exactly why I was being given the choice? Because, if they feel you are not at high risk of recurrence, then why offer you anything but a lumpectomy?
feel free to grill them…they will want you to make an informed choice…You could take a trusted scribe along with you and say you’d still like to sleep on it after the appt. then chat it over with your scribe…this might help.
Hello again to everyone.
Well I’m now 6/7 days post op, after having surgery last Monday I had to go back down on Tuesday. Just really tired now, I admit I am struggling with the exercises but persevering, am glad it’s all over, well for now.
Go back next week for results of sentinel node biopsy but I feel quite positive, don’t know why but feel almost relieved at the moment.
Night all x
Well done Annig. I have been folowing this post as i am having a masectomy after finishing chemo. My last session is 14th feb. Hope you are not too sore. Stick with the exercoses though. Get someone to be your sargeant major!! Rest well too xx
Thanks Krysby, still feel like it’s happening to someone else. The pain is bearable most of the time, only taking paracetamol, it’s staying awake that’s the problem, I don’t think I’ve even felt so drained but that’s normal I suppose.
Thanks Ali49, I do hope you are feeling ok with the chemo, I know you’ve got a few weeks to go before surgery but I do hope it all goes well for you and I will keep an eye on the threads on here. For the short time since my diagnosis I have found this forum to be a source of great advice, all of which I am grateful for, I don’t know how I would have coped. Take care and don’t be a stranger. X
You sound to be doing pretty well for 7 days post op. So what surgery did you finally have??
Just make sure you always take a pain med before you go to bed, whether its hurting at the time or not, because you can bet if you don’t, you’ll wake yourself up when you unconsciously move your arm or body in your sleep.
You said your not one for sitting down or still.
I did my exercises 6 or 7 times a day (3-4 x is just a guide line). My full movement recovery was very quick because of it. With just gently and carefully stretching a bit more each time, not to “ouch”, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly your movement will improve. The more you do them, the quicker you’ll recover, and the better you’ll feel because of. i don’t know if you’re yet doing the “walking your hand up the wall” exercise, but thats a great one for seeing your progress.
Hope your node results are good. Now get back to those exercises woman !!!
Ali - Mmmmm. there’s an interesting Valetines pressie. Hope your coping okay, or as well as can be, with your chemo.
Am sending love and speedy healing wishes to weveryone
Thanks for looking in. I had a mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy, had to go back to theatre the day after and it has left me completely pooped!! The fatigue is the worse thing at the moment, in fact today is the first day I haven’t fallen asleep on the sofa. I have quite a lot of swelling under my arm but I am doing the exercises as much as I can. Get my results on Friday but still feel positive. Now if I could get a good sleep overnight I think I would be feeling better, time will tell, will check in again soon,
Thinking of all you ladies xxx
Well here I am again !! So not chuffed !!
Results yesterday …can hardly write this as I feel emotionally drained, biopsy nodes all affected, stage 3 got to go back for node clearance. I was feeling so positive but struggling today.
If anybody out there got the energy I could do with a kick up the proverbial !!
Thank you ladies, minor meltdown over, new day new fight !!
Love and hugs to all x