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Mastectomy after secondary diagnosis


Re: Mastectomy after secondary diagnosis

Hi Pepperpot  

Thanks for posting.  

It’s understandable that you want to know more about the use and benefit of the surgery your team are proposing.  

Surgery is not commonly used to treat metastatic (secondary) breast cancer. Treatments used are usually those which treat the whole body, such as the Palbociclib and letrozole you are having.  

However, surgery may be used to help control the cancer in the breast if it is not responding to these treatments.  You might hear this referred to as ‘local control’.  If the tumour in the breast continues to grow, it can affect the skin which may break down, and can then be difficult to manage.  Performing surgery to the remove the cancer can help avoid this and so maintain your quality of life.   

Treatment decisions are based on the individual situation, so your treatment team are best placed to answer your questions and explain why they are suggesting surgery. 

Having a double mastectomy and removing the other healthy breast would not usually add any benefit to your future outlook.  However, you can talk this through with your team, as they may consider doing the operation if this would help you cope emotionally.  

Being told you have secondary breast cancer can be completely overwhelming.  It can be hard to know what to think, where to turn to for support, and even harder to find anyone who really understands what it feels like to live with the diagnosis.  

We provide a number of different services for people living with secondary breast cancer aimed at providing both information and support.   

Our Helpline team are also here for anyone diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. They have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and/or signpost you to our services, support and/or information.  

Do give us a call our 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).   

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 


Breast Cancer Now Nurse   

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Mastectomy after secondary diagnosis


I was diagnosed March 2021 with a  metastatic breast tumour. Spread to my lymph, pectorals and neck. Surgery was obviously not offered initially, but I have since had a good 3 month response in my metastatic tumours from Palbociclib, letrozole and goserelin. With no reduction in the primary breast site. 

I am on a further 3 months of this drug therapy and then being referred back to the breast surgeon to discuss mastectomy.  It has been explained that this is not curative merely preemptive of future problems. 
How common is this ?
Should consider as I know that it is not a cure ? 
what are my potential problems with the primary site if I choose not to have surgery ? 
Should I consider a double mastectomy?