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Dilemma - double mastectomy or one side reduction ......

3 REPLIES 3
Seabreeze
Member

Re: Dilemma - double mastectomy or one side reduction ......

Hi Daxsmum,

If it helps I'd be more than happy to answer any q's re the reduction angle re degree of reduction/lopsidedness which may or may not be comfortable - by direct messaging/email if it's too much detail for the public forum! I was a large cup size so understand that element of it. I was very lopsided for 2.5 years post bc op, then had one reduction, followed by another a further year on, since they didn't remove quite enough (or rather my tissue all recovered so well they didn't get the degree of volume loss anticipated)! 

Re post op bra's - I found bra extenders really helpful post op, in case of post op round rib type swelling in the first few days. You can then gradually tighten as the swelling goes and ditch the extender to the draw! M&S and John Lewis used to sell them (and probably still do). You just need to be careful re number of hooks and check re the variety (some have 2 hooks really close together for the smaller cup size bra's) when ordering. 

I also found recovery from the reduction op much easier on the non bc side (as compared with lumpectomy bc side) since the surgery isn't as intrusive re having to get in cleanly behind and around the bc lump.    

Do message if you think I can help give the other side of the coin (I was going to say balance out but that would be a terrible pun!) compared to flat friends, to help you get the info to decide what's right for you.

X Seabreeze

 

Daxsmum
Member

Re: Dilemma - double mastectomy or one side reduction ......

Seabreeze - Thank you so much for responding, really appreciate it. Yes I was told that I couldn't have radiotherapy on the same side twice - it's my right breast and it's virtually in the same place as previously!  Re the left side (reduction or mastectomy) - there's no medical reason, it's purely down to aesthetics as I have a large bust!  I'm erring on the side of left breast reduction rather than double mastectomy.  Difficult decision to make on your own though, my friends all live a fair way away so it's just phone advice and support!  I didn't have any hormone treatment first time but am told I will have this time.  I've bought a couple of post surgery bras from M&S - difficult to know what cup size to go for though - trial and error I guess! Flat Friends looks a great site and I've sent a message to join the private Facebook group - waiting to hear back from them.  I think I will do as you suggest and call one of the BCN nurses.  Thanks again, Val, xx.

Seabreeze
Member

Re: Dilemma - double mastectomy or one side reduction ......

Hi Daxsmum,

Sorry to hear you find yourself with another lump around 8 years after the first. In the bc scheme of things good that it sounds like its been found relatively early. I presume you've been advised to have a mastectomy on the lump side since (I think) full radiotherapy can't be given twice to the same breast?

Re the other side, did your oncologist/surgeon explain what their thinking was re offering a mastectomy on the non-bc side, as compared with their main/initial advice of a reduction? If not it might be worth asking so that you can make a more informed decision? Did you have any hormone therapy first time round (not sure if it's given for DCIS?) and has the onc mentioned this second time round (if it's oestrogen positive bc)?  

I ended up very lop-sided after a lumpectomy in 2014. I had, what I was informed was, a very unusual skin reaction to a prosthesis, was advised not to wear it (besides which it was so itchy I couldn't bare it for more than a couple of minutes, to the level of almost wanting to whip it out on the street when I left hospital wearing it!), so had to go around very lop-sided. I camouflaged It wearing loose and/or asymmetric tops which worked ok for me. However it felt very uncomfortable, there being a big difference between sides, it was nearly impossible to get a reasonable bra, apart from a very flexible stretchy form which would still pull round to the larger side. It affected my posture, my shoulder's were held at slightly different levels and I got back pain. In the end I was offered a reduction on the larger side and ended up roughly rebalanced and (yey! hurrah!) without the shoulder/back issues. If I had have been able to wear the prosthesis it's possible I wouldn't have had the reduction, although a big size difference is still uncomfortable when not dressed.

So I think ask the onc more q's given second diagnosis re their comment about both sides mastectomy, if you go down the reduction route consider the level of reduction (personal decision) since you may feel uncomfortable if there is a significant difference between sides even if you can wear a prosthesis when up/about. Aware it may not be an issue for some.

Re relationships - I'm sure you don't need me to say quite a few people meet partners and have new relationships when well into their 60's, 70's and even 80's. The decision re which form of op is a very personal one and I think it's about finding out any medical pro's/con's and weighing up with your thoughts, feelings and any comfort considerations.

You might find it helpful to contact flatfriends www.flatfriends.org.uk - women who ended up flat on both sides, since it may help inform your decision one way or the other. 

You could also phone BCN (tel number top right hand side of screen) to have a chat with one of the nurses?

I hope others post soon.

Such decisions are so hard at the time of making them. I hope you work out what is best for you.

X Seabreeze (diagnosed 2014)                  

 

  

Daxsmum
Member

Dilemma - double mastectomy or one side reduction ......

So this is my second journey with breast cancer - first was in 2013 when I had DCIS - lumpectomy and radiotherapy only - no issues since then.  Routine mammogram in May this year, called back and biopsy shows invasive ductal carcinoma, 10mm only but virtually same place as previous on right side, bombshell to say the least!  Saw the surgeon yesterday and booked in for mastectomy on 19 July and because I'm a big girl (42" bust) he suggests a reduction at the same time on my left side which I was OK with ..... then at the end of the session he threw in 'you could always think about a double mastectomy instead of a reduction, it's your choice, just let us know'.  I'm nearly 66 and widowed, live on my own so not having any reconstruction, can't see the point as its only me that will see me!  But ... I haven't had a flat chest since I was 14 and having lived with very large breasts for most of my life not sure how I think about not having any!  Does anyone here have any thoughts please as I just don't know what to think about this.  Thank you.