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Mystectomy and reconstruction

1 REPLY 1
Nurse_BCN
Moderator

Re: Mystectomy and reconstruction

Hi Bisby

Thanks for your post.

Considering breast reconstruction whilst dealing with a new diagnosis of breast cancer can be overwhelming.

Choosing whether or not to have reconstruction is a very personal decision. Some women feel reconstruction is necessary to restore their confidence others feel unsure about undertaking this type of surgery and its possible complications. 

Remaining flat after mastectomy can be a scary thought for some women.  But whilst there is evidence to say that some women suffer emotional and psychological effects of not undergoing reconstruction as your surgeon has mentioned, many women choose and cope well with this option, preferring to wear an external breast form (prosthesis). Some women choose not to have reconstruction and not to wear a prosthesis.  

Some women undergo mastectomy and wait to see how they feel being flat. During this time many adapt and feel that they no longer want to go through further reconstruction surgery, whilst others opt to undergo delayed reconstruction having realised it’s what they want for certain.

Women who want reconstruction at a later date, after completing treatment for breast cancer can still have their operation on the NHS. However, in some areas there may be a long wait, so this may be worth taking into account.

Equally, considering immediate breast reconstruction, the surgery options available to you and their advantages and disadvantages can be difficult. Our booklet Breast reconstruction has further information that you may find useful.

It’s not possible for us to advise you which option to take, but you may find it helpful to talk this through in more detail with one of our Helpline team who have the time to listen to your concerns and talk through information which may help your decision. It’s important you take your time to make a decision that is right and comfortable for you rather than for those around you.

Sometimes it can help to talk to someone who has had to make a similar decision. 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. The decision as to whether to have reconstruction or not is commonly discussed with our volunteers.  You can speak to someone who chose to stay flat and someone who chose to have reconstruction to find out what they considered and how they came to their decision.

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. 

You may also find the organisations Keeping abreast and Flat friends useful in supporting you with your decision.

If you call our Helpline, 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).

If you would like a nurse to call you do complete this form. Ticking the box agreeing to a call back.

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.

Best wishes

Catherine

Breast Care Nurse

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Bisby
Member

Mystectomy and reconstruction

My doctor advised I need a single mystectomy since this is a recurrence cancer on same breast. I have two tumors , one very small and the other is 3.2cm. 

I am 64 and my surgeon said I am still young enough to have reconstruction implant. I met with my plastic surgeon and he said studies show that no reconstruction affects women emotionally and psychologically. I read that having an implant may cause complications and several surgeries too which scare me. What also scares me is staying flat and looking at my flat chest daily will make me feel so sad and remind me daily of my cancer.  Also, i am 34C and he would have to make my implant the same size as my left healthy breast.

Please give me some advise on what would be a better option for me at 64 to stay flat and be reminded daily of cancer or risk the reconstruction implant surgeries that may cause me problems and surgeries. I am praying to God to guide me in a good decision where I will be most happy. Please give me your advise on both options. I greatly appreciate any advise.