newly diagnosed and scared

Hi all, i have been diagnosed as having invasive ductal cancer grade 2, i have my pre opp apointment on tueseday comming. i have a choise of a middle section lumpectomy or a mastectomy but i just dont know what to do. i feel like i have fallen into a fast flowing river and im just being swept along and im going to drown.please help me

Hi Tina

So sorry to hear this. It really does take time to come to terms with and I know it’s hard to believe but you really do come to terms with it gradually and you do learn to live with it. Time is the key factor here but right now, the main concern is your operation. I had a mastectomy but then I didn’t have a choice really as I had widespread DCIS as well as a 4cm lump (which shrunk down to 7mm with chemotherapy). I was quite emotional before the surgery but as soon as I got to the hospital everybody was so nice to me that I couldn’t be sad anymore. It’s not easy to know how to advise you on whether to have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy as like I said, I didn’t have a choice.

Sending you big hugs and also to let you know you will get plenty of support here.

Lots of love
Ruby xx

Hi tina

I had my op done on the 1st and went for the lumpectomy this way i have got out of having any more surgery not even reconstructive.

all i will say is have plenty of pain killers at home.

you may feel like the river is flowing fast but take my word for it the quicker it is over the quicker you are back home and it is much easier to recover at home than in hospital.

I was told yesterday that i will be having chemo as it is grade 2 this i will start after the bank holiday week.

just be positive and think to yourself life has just began. i know it sounds silly be you must not let anything get in your way.

lots of love will be thinking of you.

liz xxxxxxxxxxxx

Hi tina57

Firstly can I welcome you to the forums, I am posting to let you know that Breast Cancer Care have published a Resource Pack, it has been designed for anyone newly diagnosed with information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and various treatments, it is available via the following link or by contacting the helpline: You may find our helpline useful to call to talk through the specific concerns about treatment possibilities that you may have, they can talk to you about our other support services too and also offer support, information and a ‘listening ear’. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm, Saturday, 9am - 2pm. I hope you find this helpful.

Best wishes

Thank you for your replies, my surgeon has said that he cant feel anything amiss in my lymph glands and the tumor is only a centimeter big but it is right under my nipple so i would lose the whole middle of my breast and just have radiotherapy which is what he recomends or have a mastectomy if i choose. i am not worried about the cosmetic side i need to know what is the safest opption.if they find anything in my lymph glands does that mean another opperation? also is anyone being treated at lincoln hospital? and if so how is it.

A lumpectomy with radiotherapy has a very similar success rate to a mastectomy if they manage to get all the cancer out with good clear margins around the lump. There are statistics on the success rate of the two types of treatment, so if all else is equal, saving your breast is better, in my opinion. Have you looked on the Cancer research website? I found them very good for explaining the different treatments

Sorry I can’t offer an opinion on which surgery option is better… I had WLE and node sampling and mastectomy was never mentioned. Just wanted to say I am thinking of you and wish you all the best.

Hi Lilacblushes, Thanks for your good wishes, but can you explain to me what WLE is as i have not got my head round all the abreveations yet. and do you know if they can test your lymph nodes/glands before you have surgery so that you only have to have the one op.
best wishes to you


A WLE is an abbreviation for Wide Local Excision. It is, I believe, the same as a lumpectomy. It means that instead of taking all the breast tissue away as in a mastectomy, they take the diseased bit away. I dont know about other peoples diseases, but with mine, providing they got all the cancer out with a good clear margin and I have radiotherapy to ensure that if there are any tiny tumour cells, they are all killed off, then this should be as successful as having a mastectomy and no radiotherapy. Does this make sense? Your doctor has given you two options because they both will be equally successful. i guess its up to you to decide do you want a partial removal of breast tissue plus radiotherapy (which does have side effects - you will need to read up on them) or have surgery alone. It does make your head spin

dear Tina

I think that a WLE is fine in many cases (where lump is small), and if your doctors thought a masectomy was needed, they would have said so. If in doubt, I would go back to them and ask ‘what do you recommend’. With me they recommended a WLE, and I decided I trusted their opinion.

With a WLE, if they find after the operation that they did not get ‘clear margins’ and there is a chance not all the cancer is completely removed, they may then recommend a masectomy. Obviously this means in the end 2 operations. Some women prefer, even though the lump is fairly small, to have a masectomy anyway as they feel more secure and its over and done with, but as the others have said statistically the evidence is that in many cases a WLE is just as good. Your doctors would not suggest it if they thought it would not be a sensible way froward for you.

All the best, whatever you decide.


Sorry about the abbreviation … yes as Cathy says a WLE or Wide Local Excision is also known as a lumpectomy - which basically means they take away the lump (and I think a little bit more to be sure).

On the ultrasound my lump appeared to be 22mm - and my core biopsy came back as not cancerous, which was inaccurate cos when they tested the lump after it was removed it was proven to be grade 1 (apparently grade 1 cells don’t look much different to normal cells) and the lump itself was 16mm when they measured it.

Because of the ‘not cancerous’ result from the core biopsy the surgeon should not have taken nodes in the intial surgey - however he was convinced that the lump was in fact cancer so it was agreed that he would do node sampling when he took out the lump. He took 7 nodes and all were clear - there was no need for further surgey or chemo (I can only assume that there were clear margins but at the time I did not know about clear margins so I did not know to ask about it). I had 29 rads - 25 sessions where they gave me radiotherapy to 4 areas (the whole breast, armpit, collarbone/neck and one from the back) and 4 boosters direct to the tumour site.

I was not given the choice between WLE and mastectomy - again I did not know that I could have requested a mastectomy (which I think is referred to as elective mastectomy) and I just assumed that the surgeon was the expert - he had the information on my lump and he was doing the relevant operation to my case.

If I had been given the choice I honestly do not know what I would have chosen. At the time of diagnosis I think the intial reaction is to panic and want as much taken away as possible so I might have opted for mastectomy … however this is a much bigger operation and then there is the reconstruction issue to consider as well, so perhaps I may have still opted for WLE.

There are so many factors to take into account when making the decision and the majority of them are specific to the patient. I am sure you will have lots of questions about both proceedures and the answers would help you make the decision as to which surgery you go for … the best advice I can give is to speak to a breast care nurse, either the one at your hospital or the one on this site. I wish you did not need to make this decision, but sadly you do so gather as much information to help you.


I had a WLE on 25.3.08 with node clearance. Prior to surgery my surgeon examined my lump and stated that it was in ‘an ok area’ (this was high up the breast 12 o’clock, almost at the start of my breast) but he did say that if it was nearer to my nipple area then it would have been a mastectomy.

I would again ask your consultant with regard to surgery as it does sound that due to it’s position is why you have been offered a mastectomy or a middle section lumpectomy.

I also did not have any swelling in my nodes/armpit but results came back that 12 were removed and 11 were clear showing 1 had ‘signs’ and therefore I am on 6 chemos with rads after. I am triple negative and do not need herceptin/tamoxifen after chemo/rads.

What you should also remember is that each and every woman on here has different cancers/treatments/chemo/hormone therapy. None of us are the same WE ARE UNIQUE!

BUT we all share a common bond and that is to help each other get through our journey with as many tips and advice as possible. We are also here to comfort each other when we need it.

Hope your surgery and treatment goes well.


Thank Heaven’s for this site, I have been going round in circles like a cat chasing its tail and getting nowear. but reading all the post’s of those who have had this nasty alien and dealt with it. has given me so much more understanding of how to deal with it myself.I have been writing down so many things that i have read about on here that when i go for my pre op on tuesday they will think i have brought them a novel LOL. up till now the breast care nurse has only answerd what i have asked which was praticaly nothing as i didnt know what to ask but now because of this site i am so much better informed.reading about others in the same position is reasuring for me for some reason. I hope that this doesnt make me odd. I have one more question if that is ok.if I decide to have the mastectomy but they find something in the lymph glands would i still have to have the radiotherapy or would it be just the chemo. or might i still have to have both.
best wishes to you all