breast conserving surgery or mastectomy

midgetmidget Member Posts: 8
edited January 2017 in Newly diagnosed
I am trying to work out which course to take i.e. breast conserving surgery or mastectomy. My Dr has indicated breast conserving would suffice however it appears from my reading that with breast conserving surgery there is a higher chance the cancer could comeback in the breast area.I'm almost 70 and am now leaning towards a mastectomy of the breast if not both. Just looking for other views on this please.


  • Summerhill38Summerhill38 Member Posts: 747
    G;day Midget
    I am sorry you had to join us ladies but welcome anyway !  I am getting towards your age and hope my comments will help you.
    I had a mastectomy (no other option given, nor reconstruction offered) and wish I'd known more at the time.
    Now ?  I would have said "cut them both off and be done with it".  After two years of a 'fakie' I would rather just be flat (I was never too well-endowed anyway.
    Fakies can be a nuisance on all sorts of levels from the heat factor to trying to always be sure it is level with the real one on the other side.  They do, however, make one's clothing fit and look better.
    Would I go for immediate reconstruction ?  Not really as there is always additional surgeries and any surgery is a risk really.  I am not keen on the idea of having artificial stuff inside me either.
    Midget, I wish you all the best as you make your decision.  Keep in touch, not that I get on line much these days, and I will try to follow your post.
    Kind regards
  • MiraMira I live in my computer .... Member Posts: 409
    Hi Midget,  I had a 1.2cm tumour and a lumpectomy and radiation almost 2 years ago.  There's been no sign of any more cancer since.  I'm on tamoxifen currently.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,557
    Hi Midget

    I was 67 when diagnosed, and had only the choice of a partial or full mastectomy. If you are not concerned about preserving the breast, and many women quite rightly are, then a mastectomy resolves issues about cancer in that breast but provides no guarantee about experiencing cancer again. When we are first diagnosed, we cross a line between knowing about cancer in the abstract  and living with the knowledge that we have had it and might possibly get it again. I never wanted reconstruction, have had a prosthesis for 3 years (quite large breasted) and find it no problem. As always, the best advice is listen to your medical team and make the decision that feels right for you. Good luck.
  • NadiNadi Member Posts: 558
    HI Midget. I had a choice and was told that both options would mean I would have the same 5 yr survival rate. To be honest I really wanted to keep my nipple (that was my big thing) and I also couldn't face a reconstruction surgery at the time, nor did I want to be flat chested as I had large breasts. So for me the choice was a lumpectomy. It did mean that I had to have radiation though and now there is some uncertainty about what reconstruction options I can have if the breast cancer ever comes back in the future. But I don't really sit and worry about getting a recurrence because I've chosen a lumpectomy. Everyone is so different. Others I know want both breasts removed asap. I never felt that way. Good luck with your decision.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,470
    Hi Midget - sorry to hear your predicament. We all have varying experiences. Mine was Mastectomy. It is about what is best for you. Please don't worry yourself about recurrence. Yes that is a worry for all of us regardless of the type of surgery we've had, no rhyme or reason. 
    Good luck and take care 
  • GlemmisGlemmis Member Posts: 224
    Hi Midget, when I was diagnosed I wanted a mastectomy but surgeon said a lumpectomy would be enough. Well I had to have a mastectomy as well due to widespread lympovascular invasion. My breast was about half the size of the other one anyway after lumpectomy. I am three quarters through chemo & then radiotherapy & then I am having mastectomy on other side with reconstruction on both sides. Good luck with your decision.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,313
    Statistically there is no difference with 5 year survival rates on mastectomy and lumpectomy with radiotherapy and whatever the other treatments are that is offered with your type of cancer.

    Because of the positioning of my tumour my lumpectomy would have really been a partial mastectomy and being large busted and 51 with strong family history (and an aggressive tumour) , with my surgeon I decided on a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction from the beginning. I have yet to do changeover which is apparently a small procedure. I knew that for me I didn't want a lumpectony as it would have meant the need for me to be away from my family for a month  (500k from radiotherapy dept) and further surgery on remaining breast to get a bit of a match. I actually think for me it was an easier option. Of course until sentinal node was done I couldn't be certain I wouldn't need radiotherapy. 

    I suggest you consider your lifestyle (like do you swim or exercise?) And would that have an impact. How do your clothes fit now? I'm bottom heavy ...narrow shouldered. bust would make it impossible to find clothing to fit. All these things to think about.

    12 months on my internal prosthesis just feel part of me. I can go braless if I really want. I can wear different clothing now as they are slightly smaller without the droop. I love that I can wear bathers I want, not worry about needing crop top ones so my old boobs weren't at my waist. I do miss the feel of my breasts, but I have accepted that this was the choice I made to give me peace of mind and hopefully avoid a new primary or recurrance. Of course we are all hoping that we are successful in avoiding advancement of disease but no procedure can guarantee that.

    Goodluck with your decision. Kath x
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 3,078
    Hey There! I had breast concerving in 2011, Radiation and Tamoxifen for 4yrs, 2015 a recurrence in my scar tissue and further breast conserving surgery. My Surgeon said at the time there is NO difference between the 2, that I would NOT have any advantage doing a Mastectomy. Though after Chemo and 1yr on I am absolutely fine, I have to have a mastectomy now as purely precaution and not wanting to gamble again, but having Diep Flat Recon immediately. I don't regret breast conserving as I was 43 at first diagnosis and believe this was the best path for me and my diagnosis. Im only having the one breast off however. I'm at the stage after years of doing this, of not wanting to fix whats not broken, so keeping my right. Its super personal. Hugs Melinda xo
  • UnicornkissesUnicornkisses Central CoastMember Posts: 395
    Hi Midget, I am struggling with the exact same decision at the moment. My first instinct is to get rid of the breast completely, as though to me that gets rid of all risk of cancer, but I am learning that it isn't that easy.
     I have the option of lumpectomy as I am early stage and big breasted. I have discussed the options with my surgeon and studied the book Guide for women with Early Breast Cancer that she gave me to try and help make a decision. 
    I think I am now happy with the slightly increased risk of recurrence with lumpectomy, and will combine it with a breast reduction at the same time on both sides. This will allow her to take a larger margin around the tumour and also balance me up at the same time as I already have problems with posture and a twisted spine..
    I have told my husband though that if by chance I have a recurrence, or if the pathology comes back worse than we expect, they are both coming off.
    I have learnt that I can have the cancer surgery reductions at the same time as long as we are in the private system, she couldn't have done it in the public system.
    There is so much to consider and I feel there is so much at stake that I tend to panic about making the right decision. But as others have said, you have to decide what is right for you and your body. 
    I have no attachment to my breasts and probably won't miss them, others value them much higher, I am 57.
    Good luck with your decision, I wish you strength through it all, we are travelling beside you.
  • melclaritymelclarity Member Posts: 3,078
    I think depending on your diagnosis particularly has varying impacts on making these decisions. I see one of the Elite Surgeons in Melbourne and have done for over 5yrs. He was gobsmacked at my recurrence as I was so early, had really wide margins literally impossible and radiation. I was in such a minimal percentage for recurrence and that was based on taking Tamoxifen for 4yrs as well. Who knows! Its so incredibly hard when you rely on Specialist opinions and it doesnt pan out how you hoped. 

    Im currently 48yo for me whilst Ive been happy with a slow approach, if I were alot older, I think my approach would certainly be different. Unfortunately my Mum had a Mastectomy at 40 and no treatment, she survived 26yrs and yes it was so different back then, but Ive lived with what was her regret and so thats been tough for me individualising this for me and my journey as to what is best for me. My BC isn't hereditary. Im BRCA Gene negative.

    There are so many individual stories and all I can say is trust your gut instinct because THAT is the ONLY thing that matters and I think you know exactly what sits for you, which is great!. Good luck with it all. Melinda xo
  • Hopes_and_DreamsHopes_and_Dreams Gold CoastMember Posts: 752
    Hi Midget, sorry for your diagnosis but as you can see from all the replies there is fantastic support here.  My surgeon and I agreed on a nipple sparing mastectomy with immediate silicone implant to match the remaining healthy breast.  I'm 55, not big breasted and a lumpectomy would have given me concerns about clear margins and cosmetically there wouldn't have been much left!  I have never doubted my decision and after almost 6 months my implant is comfortable, soft and part of the new me. 
    As the other ladies have said, ask lots of questions of your surgeon (my GP was also a huge help)  go with your gut feeling and what will give you peace of mind.
    let us know how you go. We are all here for you.
    Jane xx

  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,943
    I had both mine off because I knew I'd never be able to trust them again. Had a recurrence after ten years so don't know if I wasted my time or not, but I figured if they were going to kill me I'd get in first ;)
  • Sandy BSandy B Member Posts: 19
    Hi Midget, You have to go with your gut instinct and guidance from doctors, as the girls have stated that the decision is an individual one for you and you alone when given options!
    I am close to your age and was diagnosed in 2015, I also had the option for lumpectomy or mastectomy (which I personally thought was a bit radical - ah ignorance is bliss!) I wanted to keep my breasts at all costs - there again just my view
    Had lumpectomy with sentinel node removal followed by 32 bouts of radiation and hormone treatment
    12 months down the track in 2016 having follow up mammogram and ultra sound another lump was found in the previously treated Breast ...... doctors were in disbelief ..... Me too!
    In November 2016 underwent mastectomy and removal of 10 lymph nodes and have just recently started chemotherapy ....... Hindsight is a wonderful thing ...... You have to do what feels right for you, sorry I don't have the magic answer ....... All the best, whatever you decide to do ..... It will be right for you xx
  • socodasocoda LeumeahMember Posts: 1,680
    Hi Midget, Wishing you all the best with your decision. Go with your gut instinct. Let us know what you decide and how you're going.  Xx Cath
  • midgetmidget Member Posts: 8
    Not being a computer expert, I'm not sure if this is the correct way to respond to your replies re  my query "breast conserving surgery or mastectomy" but I would like to thank each and every one of you for your responses.I really do appreciate it and the info has been most  helpful.  I have surgery this Frfday 20th January 2016. Will let you know what happened.Midget.
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