Mastectomies are not an option for those over 65???!!!

Posted by sandyjr @sandyjr, Jan 22, 2021

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.

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@oahu

There are three onocologist in our town of 6,000 with many retireees.I did not like the first Docter I saw right sfter operation Mar 9,22. Others I spoke to loved him. Second visit with his nurse assistant, she did read my question s but sort of fluffed them off. See new Docter Dec. 21 and I hope he can answer some of my questions . Thank you for your input.

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Much like @keepmoving2 above said; My best suggestions are first, take someone with you. It is truly amazing how differently doctor appointments can go with someone else there. I have seen this time and time again, it changes the dynamics of the appointment. This also serves to have someone else listening with you, our mind can wander momentarily when talking about our own cancer and we can miss tidbits of information. Next up, I would ask the questions even if I had to read them from my paper, this way there is no chance of one or two not being answered. Then if you read the next question and already have the answer, you can choose not to ask it, but it is your choice.
I find that these things can signal to a doctor that I take my appointment seriously. I am hoping that you love the new doctor and are comfortable with a treatment plan with them.
Do you have someone that can go with you and help advocate for you?

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Oh my goodness!!! I had a fouble mastectomy just before turning 69…I'm horrified by that doctor's refusal to perform the surgery on a woman over 65–!!! Yikes! I wonder if it's a regional thing, or some quirk in that physician's experience.

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I’m having a double mastectomy with no reconstruction on 12/8.
Im in pretty good shape but concerned about the healing factors at 68 years old. Any suggestions ladies?

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@lnlowe70

Oh my goodness!!! I had a fouble mastectomy just before turning 69…I'm horrified by that doctor's refusal to perform the surgery on a woman over 65–!!! Yikes! I wonder if it's a regional thing, or some quirk in that physician's experience.

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Hi. Did you find the recovery difficult? I’m 68 and all the emotions are starting to kick in😞. My surgery is on 12/8.

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@orchardgirl54

I’m having a double mastectomy with no reconstruction on 12/8.
Im in pretty good shape but concerned about the healing factors at 68 years old. Any suggestions ladies?

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Hi orchard girl, Read you are having a mastectomy Dec. 8th. I had both breasts removed in 2018; I was 73 yrs. Old. The drains were sort of hard to do by myself; I managed though. I then had chemotherapy 1x each week; after blood work came back cancer Dr. Switched me to Keytruda; a 30 min. Drip every 3 weeks. So far I am doing OK. I pray often; that gives me peace. I will pray for you as well that all goes good for your mastectomy. If any concerns or questions, please reply. At times when I read other's posts I do not understand the many "abbreviations" writing about someone's cancer treatments, what type breast cancer, etc. Prayers for you. bemar23

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@miles5513

Hi orchard girl, Read you are having a mastectomy Dec. 8th. I had both breasts removed in 2018; I was 73 yrs. Old. The drains were sort of hard to do by myself; I managed though. I then had chemotherapy 1x each week; after blood work came back cancer Dr. Switched me to Keytruda; a 30 min. Drip every 3 weeks. So far I am doing OK. I pray often; that gives me peace. I will pray for you as well that all goes good for your mastectomy. If any concerns or questions, please reply. At times when I read other's posts I do not understand the many "abbreviations" writing about someone's cancer treatments, what type breast cancer, etc. Prayers for you. bemar23

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Hi. Thank you for replying so quickly.
I had breast cancer, (Triple Negative) 20 years ago. I had a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemo and 30 days of radiation. Prayers do work! ! However, this years checkup showed some precancerous cells in the same breast but a different- lower grade-caught very early.
Can I ask if you had reconstruction? I’m also wondering about prosthetic bras?

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@lnlowe70

Oh my goodness!!! I had a fouble mastectomy just before turning 69…I'm horrified by that doctor's refusal to perform the surgery on a woman over 65–!!! Yikes! I wonder if it's a regional thing, or some quirk in that physician's experience.

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Hi. Thank you for sharing. I’m 68 and surgery is scheduled for next week. Did you have reconstruction? I elected not to and hoping I made the right decision.
Anxiety is kicking in.

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@miles5513

Hi orchard girl, Read you are having a mastectomy Dec. 8th. I had both breasts removed in 2018; I was 73 yrs. Old. The drains were sort of hard to do by myself; I managed though. I then had chemotherapy 1x each week; after blood work came back cancer Dr. Switched me to Keytruda; a 30 min. Drip every 3 weeks. So far I am doing OK. I pray often; that gives me peace. I will pray for you as well that all goes good for your mastectomy. If any concerns or questions, please reply. At times when I read other's posts I do not understand the many "abbreviations" writing about someone's cancer treatments, what type breast cancer, etc. Prayers for you. bemar23

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Hi. Thank you for replying so quickly.
I had breast cancer, (Triple Negative) 20 years ago. I had a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemo and 30 days of radiation. Prayers do work! ! However, this years checkup showed some precancerous cells in the same breast but a different- lower grade-caught very early.
Can I ask if you had reconstruction? I’m also wondering about prosthetic bras? Sorry if I’m commenting in the wrong lace. I’m new to this site and just figuring it out 😉

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@orchardgirl54

Hi. Thank you for replying so quickly.
I had breast cancer, (Triple Negative) 20 years ago. I had a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemo and 30 days of radiation. Prayers do work! ! However, this years checkup showed some precancerous cells in the same breast but a different- lower grade-caught very early.
Can I ask if you had reconstruction? I’m also wondering about prosthetic bras?

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@orchardgirl54 I had a mastectomy in 2019 without reconstruction. I wear a prosthetic and a prosthetic bra. I do not have any issues. The ladies at my boutique that specialize in cancer patients needs like wigs, prosthetics & clothing ie hats & swimsuits etc. I originally had a silicone prosthetic & the latest one I got was inflatable which allows it to be a bit lighter and more adjustable. I have a swimsuit that the prosthetic fits into a pocket very nicely and I swim with the silicone prosthetic. I do not have any issues with my prosthetic, snd fir me , no reconstruction was the right decision. Blessings.

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@sandyjr

I also was surprised at the lack of discomfort. The only pain I had was a HUGE headache…the surgery was long. I believe that was from the anesthesia. Even the very wide incision across my belly where they harvest the skin (and some blubber…lol) from was pain free. I thought for sure it would be a lot more difficult than it was. Of course having the perfect doctor (plastic surgeon) helped. I went into this confident that the outcome would be great and it is.

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I had this done in 2000, called tram flap surgery then. Also had a reduction on the remaining breat. They must do it differently now. My pain was terrible.

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