precautionary mastectomy

Hi, haven’t been here for a few days as have had tonsillitis and now absolute stinker of a cold! Haven’t had a cold for years, forgotten how horrid they are! Oh woe is me. Never mind worse things have happened!
Anyway, what I’m really interested to know is whether anyone could give me some advice re having a mastectomy as a precaution. Briefly, I was diagnosed last Feb. with a grade 3 bc and had a mastecomy and ANC. As there is apparently a very slightly increased risk of recurrence I discussed with my onc and bcn about having my other breast removed as a precaution and they were fine with this. Then the other day I was speaking to a lady who has had bc, she comes from a different area to me, and she said her onc had advised her against this as if bc recurs it will be more obvious and easier to deal with. Would be grateful to hear other people’s thoughts!

HI Esme

I had a risk-reducing mastectomy on one side. I had this done the same time as the mastectomy and axillary clearance on the other side.

I discussed at some length with both the surgeon and oncologist. I’ve never heard of it being any harder to detect any BC post mastectomy and logically that doesn’t make any sense. Also if you are removing a healthy breast the chances of getting BC post mastectomy is minimal.

I had lobular cancer and that was impossible for me to detect through breast checks. I was too young for routine screening but told that in any case it was hard to detect on mammograms, If i’d kept that breast I would needed MRIs every 2 years.

so much depends on your relationship with your Onc and BCN. If you have been pleased with their care and have some trust in them then I would take their advice. You would also need to speak to the surgeon so you’ll get 3 opinions straight away. I would discuss your fears.
You don’t really know what was said to the lady you met it’s only hearsay so go to the experts. Each case is individual and what’s right for one person isn’t necessarily good for the next.

Hope all goes well for you.
Elinda x

Hi Elinda,
Thank you for that. I have appt due with onc at the end of March. Actually he and the rest of the team are great so will speak to them but I think what you’ve said makes sense and I still feel very much that I would like the other breast removed. I worry about it constantly!

I’m glad you are doing well. Thank you for the speedy response! It’s good to speak to someone in a similar position.
Esme x

I had a second mastectomy in sept 2009 as i have a very bad family history plus i was starting to get benign changes in the good breast… i found the second op much easier to get over as there was no lymph node removal needed and had full arm movement back within a week of the drains being removed… (i have lymphodema in my other arm so really wanted to avoid furture problems with the other arm as well…) good idea to chat to your team.

Theresa x

Thanks rhapsody,

It’s good to know that the second op is easier. I’m pretty new to the forum but what a great thing it is! I love everyone in my breast care team, they are fab, but speaking to other women in the same situation is also a great support as it is good to get info. from those who have ‘been there’.

Esme x

Hi Esme
Like Elinda, I had a risk reducing mx on my good side at the same time as mx on the other. I’d already had a segmental mx and SNB 4 months before, so it was only the bi-lat mx and recon (expandable implants) to be done. It was a big operation, but I’ve recovered really well and so far am pleased with the results (3 months on now).
Why did I have the second? Several reasons - my Mum had ovarian cancer 2 years ago which put me at greater risk (plus other familial BC), I had fertility treatment which I was concerned about and nobody can yet discount that risk, I really didn’t want to go through life wondering, and I’d have a matching pair. It also meant only one op, rather than a second op to reduce the good breast to match the recon.
It wasn’t a quick decision - I had time to work throuigh it.
I have had total support from my medical team, and the people who love me - husband, family and friends.
Now I’m into ovarian screening - oh joy!
Good luck with it all
River x