Bilateral Mastectomy without Reconstruction Recovery Timeline

Posted by sheilaray @sheilaray, Sep 24, 2021

I'm going to be having a bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction and I'd love to hear from others who have gone through this about your recovery time. How long were you in the hospital? What could you do when you went home? How realistic is it to do desk work for limited times after going home?

My background, I had invasive adenocarcinoma of the left breast in 1997 with lumpectomy, lymph node involvement, chemo, radiation and tamoxifen. I've been in remission since then. I'm now diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma of the left breast and will not know if I need further treatment until after the mastectomy.

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Breast Cancer Support Group.

@annie65

I had a double mastectomy in 2004 at the age of 50 with no reconstruction. Recovery was pretty quick and I was ready to take walks and begin slowly to get more active before too long. The drains were the most annoying part of recovery but not that bad and they are taken out within a couple of weeks. Agree with the responses that recommend getting your arms moving as soon as your doctor says it's OK.
I wore prosthesis while I worked but have gotten used to wearing nothing and love the comfort of no bra. There are lots of us "flat" women out there to connect with online. Everybody is different so do what feels best to you. For me personally, I never have regretted no reconstruction.

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@annie65

Did you take any hormonal treatment after double mastectomy?

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@polianad22

@annie65

Did you take any hormonal treatment after double mastectomy?

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Yes, because I took tamoxifen for 2 years and then aromasin for another 8 years.

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@annie65

Yes, because I took tamoxifen for 2 years and then aromasin for another 8 years.

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@annie65

What I don't understand is why is hormonal treatment is still needed after double mastectomy.

I am reading "Hormone therapy is still recommended for women with early-stage breast cancer who have had mastectomies because it can help prevent a distant recurrence (metastatic disease)."

" The breast cancer cells have receptors (proteins) that attach to estrogen and progesterone, which helps them grow. Treatments that stop these hormones from attaching to these receptors are called hormone or endocrine therapy."

What other cancers are related to estrogen and progesterone? I thought that breast cancer only. If you have double mastectomy then where is the recurrence happening?

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@polianad22

@annie65

What I don't understand is why is hormonal treatment is still needed after double mastectomy.

I am reading "Hormone therapy is still recommended for women with early-stage breast cancer who have had mastectomies because it can help prevent a distant recurrence (metastatic disease)."

" The breast cancer cells have receptors (proteins) that attach to estrogen and progesterone, which helps them grow. Treatments that stop these hormones from attaching to these receptors are called hormone or endocrine therapy."

What other cancers are related to estrogen and progesterone? I thought that breast cancer only. If you have double mastectomy then where is the recurrence happening?

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I am not a medical person but I understood that, especially in my case because I had positive lymph nodes, the cancer cells could have escaped the breast area and travelled to other parts of my body. Breast cancer recurrence happens in other body parts like bones, lungs, etc.

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@annie65

I am not a medical person but I understood that, especially in my case because I had positive lymph nodes, the cancer cells could have escaped the breast area and travelled to other parts of my body. Breast cancer recurrence happens in other body parts like bones, lungs, etc.

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I understand if the lymph nodes are positive. What if the lymph nodes are negative? I had unilateral mastectomy on November 14th, but thinking of doing the second one next year. My lymph nodes are negative, therefore no radiation. Waiting for the Oncotype DX test.

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@polianad22

I understand if the lymph nodes are positive. What if the lymph nodes are negative? I had unilateral mastectomy on November 14th, but thinking of doing the second one next year. My lymph nodes are negative, therefore no radiation. Waiting for the Oncotype DX test.

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I followed whatever advice my oncologist gave me because I trusted that she knew my case and understood what would give me the best chance of survival.

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