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Mastectomy & lumpectomy pros and cons

Mastectomy & lumpectomy pros and cons

Posted by NanaY on Jan 11, 2021 3:12 pm

Hi everyone, 

I was wondering if anyone has done a mastectomy or lumpectomy of the left breast after chemo? What are the pros and cons of both procedures? If you can, please share your experience with recovery process. I am around 60 years old and I am almost finishing chemo. My decision for now is to get a mastectomy of the whole left breast. My main concern is the recurrence of the cancer.

Thank you for your advice.

Re: Mastectomy & lumpectomy pros and cons

Posted by Essjay on Jan 11, 2021 6:46 pm

Hi NanaY‍ 

I had a lumpectomy on my left breast before chemo. I’m assuming if you’ve had chemo your tumour has shrunk and they are offering you a choice.

The surgeon took a big chunk of me (his words), and I’m a bit misshapen - the lower left quadrant is missing, and I have hard scar tissue throughout my breast. I had radiation after chemo, which I tolerated well and my skin healed fine. I had radiation after chemo which I tolerated well and my skin coped with. My breast is tanned and feels softer than the untreated side. The main thing with radiation on the left side is you have to do some breath holding to lift your chest away from your heart to give some protection.

Lumpectomy is a much more minor surgery than mastectomy. I was out of hospital the same day and back to work in 11days and the gym at 14. Back to normal activities after 4 weeks.

Im going to tag a few ladies who’ve had mastectomy on one side cancertakesflightWendy Tea‍ who may share their experiences.

best wishes, Essjay
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Mastectomy & lumpectomy pros and cons

Posted by Buffythevampire on Jan 11, 2021 10:29 pm

NanaY‍ Initially I had a lumpectomy on my left breast Oct 2018 to remove a 1 cm tumor. Then another larger tumor was found with a MRI (2.5cm) and was told I needed a mastectomy March 2019. I was told that anything larger then 2 cm meant mastectomy.

Lumpectomy - day surgery
- you have to be concerned about clear margins
- my surgery was on a Tuesday and I worked on the Friday but had to watch what I lifted

Mastectomy - day surgery, I also had an expander placed for reconstruction
-4-6 weeks off for recovery
- I didn't need radiation
-harder to see yourself without your breast
- during the mastectomy surgery I had lymph nodes removed

I have an implant on the left side which has a horizontal scar plus the scar from the lumpectomy. The right side was reduced/lifted to make them both more even in size. Lumpectomy is definitely an easier surgery but if they don't get clear margins then they have to operate again. If you are getting a mastectomy you have to decide if you are getting reconstruction. If you are not getting reconstruction you might have a balance issue if you are large breasted. I was told by my Plastic Surgeon that if I wasn't getting reconstruction then he would still reduce/lift the right side, I was a DD.

Re: Mastectomy & lumpectomy pros and cons

Posted by cinderella1 on Jan 12, 2021 11:27 am

NanaY‍ I chose to have a lumpectomy on my R breast ( over 2cm) with total lymph node removal on R side. But consented to mastectomy if he thought it necessary once he got in and I was asleep. The surgery took more than 1/4 of my breast, he recommended decreasing the other breast for a match but my partner and I are ok with it, and don’t want another surgery. My  margins where clear in the breast but not in the fat tissue near the lymph nodes, so had radiation to catch the escapees. It was day surgery home in few hours, used medical cannabis during all my treatments (chemo, surgery and radiation) and it worked well. Your surgeon will prob recommended a mastectomy bra, it was a life saver for me even with just a lumpectomy. I put nursing pads in to fill the space and allow support to the R side. They recommended to sleep with the bra at night to decrease pain and add support.  You will prob also have a drain insitu for a few weeks. My scar is healing well, using VIT E and pure aloe extract on it. Chemo was difficult for me , surgery was the opposite. Also reassuring to know that the majority of the cancer is gone. All the best with your surgery NanaY‍