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Surgeon recommendations: How did you choose a surgeon?

Breast Cancer | Last Active: Oct 17, 2023 | Replies (58)

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<p>DCIS of the left breast . 53 years old . Visited breast surgeon already . Going for second opinion next week ... mood swings , can't stop crying and make myself thinking positive... How to choose the best surgeon ? Few names from friends were given to me from Miami university hospital , Mayo Clinic , Baptist health Miami .....<br />I live in West Palm Beach so my concern is traveling everyday for treatment after surgery , like radiation ...<br />I have friends which offered help in Miami or Jacksonville so I could stay there during the process ....<br />I also read about radiation and see that there are proton therapy , IORT, 15 days , 30 days .... according to the surgeon they don't know details about treatment yet since another pathology will be done after lumpectomy ...not every hospital has updated equipment I guess ... since this is left breast and hearth underneath, I am extremely concerned...Also my genetic testing is scheduled for month after surgery and what if I have mutation in genes ? Then another , more serious surgery will be done ? Shouldn't genetic testing be done before lumpectomy ? I am not sure how to choose the right facility and surgeon and what I should concentrate on ... history of anxiety is definitely factor to all of it . I just want to make smart decisions and feel comfortable about my choices .... Thank you all . Prayers for all of you ladies going through this horrible experience! Ugh !</p>

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Replies to "DCIS of the left breast . 53 years old . Visited breast surgeon already . Going..."

Welcome @enaska1. Fellow member @nikkifrn started a similar discussion recently, so I moved your message here to read previous posts:
- Surgeon recommendations: How did you choose a surgeon?

Typing "surgeon" or "surgery" into the Breast Cancer support group Search also gives many other helpful discussions to explore:

Naturally, I'm biased and strongly recommend Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. If you're interested in seeking a second opinion there, here's how to get started http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63

In response to your questions about genetic testing, it is my understanding that genetic testing would not influence your surgical choices. Once the tumor is removed it will be tested and the genetic profile will provide information that will guide further treatment choices like which treatments will be most effective for your genetic markers if you have any. It may also be determined that will not need further treatment.

You will make the right choices with your team. You're not alone. And besides, you have an entire community here to walk this journey with. Keep asking questions!

I also have my surgery scheduled, but my surgeon also scheduled genetic testing (which came negative) as she wanted to get the result before the surgery. She said that the result of genetic testing may change the surgery plan if required.


Hi Joanna, yes, you should do genetic testing before the lumpectomy. I was scheduled for a lumpectomy originally. My breast surgeon ordered genetic testing but felt confident it was going to come back negative. The results were seriously delayed and the surgeon was ready to move ahead anyway. I asked her to please follow-up on the results as there is no reason to order testing if you don't wait for results. We found out I have the BRCA2 mutation the day before my lumpectomy and she was stunned. The lumpectomy and IORT were cancelled as I now opted for a double mastectomy hoping I'd never deal with another lump. It was stage 1. It's worth testing so you can make the most informed decision. I also found out 5 years later that I also have the CHEK2 mutation, but they didn't check for that originally.

If you have radiation therapy, seek out state-of-the-art equipment. I had 37 radiation treatments when my cancer came back in my chest wall and pectoral muscle (right side) 7 years later. I was worried about my lungs, but they said the new equipment is so precise, it keeps the radiation from going too deep and wouldn't hit my lungs. That was almost 3 years ago and it didn't impact my lungs. My skin broke down after about 20-25 treatments, but healed up just fine. No residual effects from radiation.

Best of luck to you in all this. It's a tough process, but you'll feel better once a treatment plan is in place and you can just get to it. For the weeks leading up to the final plan, I felt like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, just living the same day over and over again -- consult, testing, waiting, consult, testing, waiting, etc. It was exhausting. I was so happy when surgery day finally arrived and I knew I was on the road toward better health and could get back to a normal life soon. Prayers for you. Things will get better. 🙂

I drove 3 1/2 hours to my cancer center, MD Anderson, in Houston. I think going to the Mayo Clinic would be worth the drive - it’s what 4 hours? A comprehensive cancer center can offer many benefits. One of which, the Mayo Clinic has a great reputation.
I stayed in a nearby Marriott hotel for appointments that I had to stay overnight, and before/after surgery. For some appointments I requested that they not be scheduled before 11:30 am and no later than 3 pm so I could drive in that morning and home before too late.
Radiation may be a week or it may be multiple weeks. My intermediate grade 1.6 cm DCIS, was a 3 hour outpatient BCS surgery (reduction in both breasts), 1 week radiation, and tamoxifen. I use the MyChart digital healthcare communication a lot, even sending photos of my breasts (after surgery) when I was concerned about red patches and wasn’t sure whether it was worth the drive to have the MD look at it. I’ve done a few video visits, one with the survivorship program, and regular follow ups with the rheumatologist about my osteoporosis.
Radiation can often be completed at a facility closer to your home. Your radiologist may have a some facilities that can provide what you need. I went to one of MD Anderson satellite sites. My sister in law in New Jersey, who drove in to Sloan Kettering Cancer center for care in NY, had her radiation near her home in NJ. West Palm Beach should have a quality radiation center that could carry out the prescribed therapy ordered by the Mayo Clinic.

I can’t tell you how my stress level was lowered once I contacted MD Anderson - they immediately started sharing with me what steps I needed to take to begin my journey. They provided me with options, we discussed the research behind some options (I like research, a comfort zone), and let me make the decisions.

I wish you well. Please let me know if you need more information that I can help with, or want to stay in contact.