Breast Cancer Surgery, Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy Advice - Rachel Pappas

By: Breast Cancer Answers®

Rachael Pappas: Hi! I am going to talk about a big subject for women who have faced breast cancer. Mastectomy v/s lumpectomy – which way to go? For me personally, I walked into my breast surgeon’s office and said, “Take them off. I did not trust them anymore. They had invaded my body. It was going to be like having a dead belt back on”, to keep me safe again. I listened to my doctor and she was telling me what breast surgeons normally tell most women and that’s that in most cases, having the breast removed does not change your outcome.

You would do this typically if otherwise you would have to have much of the breast taken because of the size of the tumor or tumors, or if you know that you are genetically predisposed to cancer. Otherwise, a doctor will normally tell you, advise you to go for lumpectomy but this is a very personal choice. There’s a lot that goes into making it. It’s up to you and I think there’s certain questions that you should ask yourself before you make what is your best choice. Some of the questions I would ask are ‘what is the likelihood that you would have a reoccurrence? How much does that weigh on your mind? Again, my doctor and most doctors, most breast surgeons say lumpectomy does not affect the outcome but it’s a psychological thing. There is a comfort level for some women. I have heard so many of them say ‘having the breast removed is what they are most comfortable with’.

If it’s going to ease your mind to have a mastectomy, look into mastectomy. How much surgery you are willing to undergo? Should you make the decision to do mastectomy? Keep in mind that there may be more than one or two surgeries. Keep in mind also aesthetically, you may end up with beautiful breasts, you more than likely will, but they might not be exactly what you were expecting. I am not trying to scare anyone, they may be. I have talked to women who got exactly what they wanted. Some of them, well it turned out a little different but they loved them. In fact I talked to one woman who said she loved them so much once she got through that she took the girls on vacation as she was ecstatic.

She was thrilled. Are you willing to go through the multiple surgeries? This question you need to ask yourself. You also need to ask yourself what are you willing to endure after lumpectomy or mastectomy. Keep in mind, after lumpectomy, you will go through six weeks of radiation but it’s a quicker recovery, and after the six weeks you are done. It’s your decision, your life, your body.

Breast Cancer Surgery, Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy Advice - Rachel Pappas

I would end by saying perhaps you should start out talking to your breast surgeon and maybe with a plastic surgeon if you are thinking of going the mastectomy route. I would also talk to other women who have gone either way, know that you can get on forums like BreastCancer.org, that where you can talk to other women who have had mastectomy v/s lumpectomy and find out why they did what they did and you can find out some of the options moving forward with mastectomy because you will have more than one choice. So do the research, ask yourself the questions, ask your doctor the questions, ask other women – that’s my suggestions. Hi! My name is Rachael Pappas. I am a breast cancer survivor.

As of September 2009 I blog, so you can go and find me at www.1uponcancer.com (with the digit ‘1’). You can also find me on Twitter under RachaelPappas and on Facebook, I am the Rachael Pappas with the cat. There’s a few of us.

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