Mastectomies are not an option for those over 65???!!!
A friend of mine has had breast cancer twice…DCIS and IDC….both breasts….as I have. She told me that she had suggested mastectomy to her surgeon the second time and that doctor, her oncologist and her gynecologist told her that it is not done for ladies over 65. They do not do it. She is a young 75 and certainly could handle such surgery. I am 70 and last year I had a bilateral mastectomy with diep flap reconstruction. The first surgeon I went to had no problem doing the surgery, but said that I was too old for diep reconstruction, I would have to get implants. I did not like that surgeon and would never have used her….she was rude and crude saying “another nipple in the bucket” over and over when discussing mastectomy. I was disgusted and angry. I did not know where to turn, so made an appointment with a plastic surgeon that had given a lecture on breast cancer reconstruction. Luckily I had attended the lecture and decided to make an appointment with him. He had shown pictures of women that had had surgery and reconstruction into their 80s. That was the best thing I ever did. After meeting me and hearing my story…two breast cancers and genetic mutation and horror appointment with the crude surgeon, he told me that I could not have nipple sparing surgery because of the radiation I had had, but that I could have the diep flap and he recommended a different surgeon. He has been the best thing that has happened to me since my breast cancer experience began. He is kind, totally explains everything, listens to everything you have to say and tells you what to expect. From the get go, he told me he could not make me look perfect, but he also said he does not take cases unless he knows he will be successful. This man truly has given me hope and my wish is that everyone be lucky enough to find a doctor like him. I am nearly through the process as it takes a while to complete and I am delighted with my new breasts. So, can someone tell me if/why mastectomies are not done for older ladies. That certainly was not the case for me. My suggestion is…do your research, decide what you want and do not go by what the first doctor tells you. I got 50% of what I wanted….no on the nipple sparing mastectomy (but I did have skin sparing), but yes on using my own tissue for reconstruction…no implants. I thought the surgery was remarkably easy…very little pain…getting back up to speed took about 3 weeks (its a 10 hour surgery and you have to be very careful how you move so as not to disrupt the microsurgery done to move the tissue from the belly to the chest). He has given me hope.