Worry before surgery

Hi I have a planned smx due 25/6 with DIEP recon. I was ok until recently now worried that as my cancer was lobular and not initially picked up how do I know there is not more and having recon will / may impact on finding it. The background is 2 x WLE in Nov and Dec 23 - tumour removed 20 mm but no clear margins and a number of small foci found (not seen on mri). 6 rounds of chemo ( 3 EC and 3 Docetaxal) and now a planned smx. BCN and oncology say I’m worry over nothing as everything is positive but I can’t help now thinking what if they find more once the smx is tested? It didn’t show up before could it do the same? I don’t really understand all the clinical meanings and I’m now panicking that recon maybe the wrong move? But surely this wouldn’t be offered if in any doubt? Sorry just not sure who to ask and what to ask. Thank you.

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Hello gsd1007

Thank you for posting.

It sounds as if you are having a difficult time.

Nearly everyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer worries that it may not all be removed or that it might come back (recurrence). It is understandable you feel like this, especially as your lobular breast cancer was not initially picked up. You are not alone in being anxious and the panic you describe feeling is very real.

You are right in thinking that you would not be offered a reconstruction if there was any doubt it was not the right thing for you. All decisions about any treatment you are offered are made jointly by a team of breast cancer specialists at a multidisciplinary team meeting. This helps to ensure the treatment you are offered is the right treatment for.

When you have a mastectomy the breast tissue that is removed will be looked at under the microscope to see if there are any signs of cancer cells within the tissue. Having a reconstruction doesn’t impact on this. It is good you have been able to speak with your breast care nurse and oncologist about how you are feeling. You may find it helpful to talk to them again to talk through the worries you have,they will be able to answer based on your individual situation and to provide some support for you.

It can be difficult to cope emotionally during this time, and some people find talking to someone who has had a similar experience can be helpful. Our Someone Like Me service can arrange for one of our volunteers to talk to you by email or telephone. Our volunteers have had a personal experience of breast cancer and are trained to provide support.

You can ring the Someone Like Me team on 0345 077 1893 or email them at someone.likeme@breastcancernow.org,so they can then match you to your volunteer.

Some people may benefit from talking therapy, such as counselling, to explore ways of managing their worries and concerns. You can speak to your GP or treatment team about this. Mindfulness can also be helpful.

You may also find it helpful to talk through your concerns with one of the nurses on our helpline. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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