Thanks for posting.
It’s understandable to worry when you are given different treatment options, especially if one of the options appears to give you a slightly higher risk of exposure to coronavirus.
As you mention your lump cannot be felt, so the exact position has to be ‘marked’ for the surgeon, so that they can remove the right area. In most cases a technique called wire localisation is used. In the radiology department, a mammogram or ultrasound scan will be used as a guide to insert a fine wire into the breast under local anaesthetic. The wire is then carefully secured under a small dressing and left in place until the operation to remove the tumour. The operation is usually done under a general anaesthetic on the same day, and the wire will be removed during the operation.
More hospitals are now using a new localisation procedure. Instead of a fine wire, a small radiation-free magnetic marker (known as a Magseed) is inserted into the breast tissue. This can be done up to two weeks before your operation. During surgery, a special probe is used to locate the seed and guide the surgeon to the tissue that needs to be removed. The seed will be removed during the operation. You mention that if you choose to have the magnetic seed you will need to wait a little longer, I wonder if your treatment team have told you how long this is likely to be. Both procedures are there to allow the surgeon to locate the area that needs to be removed. Your treatment team will be able to let you know if more tissue will need to be taken with either procedure.
It may be helpful to contact your breast care nurse (if you have one) to talk through some of your questions and concerns. Decisions about treatment during the pandemic are made on a case by case basis by the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) after considering the benefits and risks of treatment and other factors such as someone’s general health. In addition, the way treatments are planned during this time may also vary between hospitals to minimise the risk. Your treatment team are best placed to advise on what is the most appropriate plan for you.
Although you mention that you are anxious that you have been waiting 3 months for surgery, be reassured that the tamoxifen you are taking is an effective first treatment for breast cancer when surgery needs to be delayed.
You may be interested to know that we offer a range of free supportive services.
Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.
The number is 0808 800 6000 (Text relay prefix 18001).
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.
Breast Cancer Now Nurse
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I was just told I'd have the magseed but from what I understand it seems to be the better approach. I also just had day surgery (no overnight stay). Of course it depends on how you feel, but I would say if you have already waited then a bit longer might be worth it to lessen the risk of covid.
Good luck with whichever you decide 🙂
I was diagnosed at the end of March as a result of screening, my tumour is non palpable, small and oestrogen receptive. I elected to start tamoxifen with view to delaying surgery until the coronavirus situation was calmer.
I saw my consultant last week and I now have a decision to make. I can opt for a wire localisation procedure followed by lumpectomy within the next 2/3 weeks - however as the wire has to be inserted on the same day and it will need to be in the radiology department of my local hospital which is in a red zone and so my op will need to be in the ‘amber’ theatre, this means a slightly higher risk of acquiring the virus. The option is to wait a little longer and have a magnetic seed implanted and then my op on a non COVID area of hospital.
I have waited 3 months already and even though consultant is very reassuring, I am getting more anxious. Having done some research, it would appear that the seed is less intrusive and can lead to less breast tissue being removed as it is easier for the surgeon to find it.
I would love to hear from anyone if you have had a wire guided procedure or the seed approach.
thank you and sorry for the rambling message!