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.

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

@sequoia

@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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Thank you! 😘

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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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I understand your concern. I am 76, had a mastectomy in Nov. '21. I am waiting for reconstruction. One week following surgery, I had several weeks of the spacer being filled and then followed by radiation and more chemo.
The recovery from surgery was fine. The drain was initially tricky, but I was able to manage by myself. I understand that there are laniards that can support the drain while showering. I wasn't aware of that when I had my drain so I taped the drain to my waist.
I also had no difficulty eating, no dietary restrictions. So I ate healthily including extra protein and plenty of fresh veggies and fruit. I also slepted when I was tired and exercised when I could. I walked up to 4 miles a day before surgery and got back to that distance within 3 weeks. Good luck with your surgery and recovery. I really hate that people dismiss us because of our age.

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@orchardgirl54

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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I had a total mastectomy when I was 75 years old. The surgeon did not do a "complete" removal; I had large "flaps of skin" on both sides; had to have a plastic surgeon to remove the large "flaps". If I could have a "do over" I would have sought out a breast cancer surgeon who does do mastectomies. Because of the bad surgery for my mastectomy I had to have 2 different surgeries. Make certain you try to find specifically a mastectomy surgeon. My Best to You. Healing was not a problem. Hugs to you. bemar23

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@miles5513

I had a total mastectomy when I was 75 years old. The surgeon did not do a "complete" removal; I had large "flaps of skin" on both sides; had to have a plastic surgeon to remove the large "flaps". If I could have a "do over" I would have sought out a breast cancer surgeon who does do mastectomies. Because of the bad surgery for my mastectomy I had to have 2 different surgeries. Make certain you try to find specifically a mastectomy surgeon. My Best to You. Healing was not a problem. Hugs to you. bemar23

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Thank you for sharing. I’m pretty confident in my surgeon so hoping for the best . It’s so nice to hear from you ladies. Be well.

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@maggieb892

I understand your concern. I am 76, had a mastectomy in Nov. '21. I am waiting for reconstruction. One week following surgery, I had several weeks of the spacer being filled and then followed by radiation and more chemo.
The recovery from surgery was fine. The drain was initially tricky, but I was able to manage by myself. I understand that there are laniards that can support the drain while showering. I wasn't aware of that when I had my drain so I taped the drain to my waist.
I also had no difficulty eating, no dietary restrictions. So I ate healthily including extra protein and plenty of fresh veggies and fruit. I also slepted when I was tired and exercised when I could. I walked up to 4 miles a day before surgery and got back to that distance within 3 weeks. Good luck with your surgery and recovery. I really hate that people dismiss us because of our age.

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Thank you for your kind reply.
I’m planning on doing exactly that… eating good and getting some exercise. I’m in Western NY so winter is a bit of a challenge. But your post is very helpful.
It really helps to hear from you girls, Thanks !

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@orchardgirl54

Thank you for your kind reply.
I’m planning on doing exactly that… eating good and getting some exercise. I’m in Western NY so winter is a bit of a challenge. But your post is very helpful.
It really helps to hear from you girls, Thanks !

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@orchardgirl54 and others, you may also be interested in this related discussion:
– Mastectomy and breast reconstruction pros and cons? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mastectomy-1/

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@orchardgirl54

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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I was 68 when I had a double mastectomy in October 2020. My surgeon was great. I did not have reconstruction. I turned 69 in December of that year. I had a little trouble with one of the drains and an infection, but I healed fairly well. I only took Ibuprophen for pain. I'm fairly active. I mow the lawns, garden and build fences, etc. The scar is healing flat with no puckers and looks pretty good. I did PT to regain range of motion and I continue to massage the scar and do various exercises that I learned. I had 5 lymph nodes removed, but I didn't really experience any lymphodema. Hoping your surgery is uneventful and fairly easy. Blessings!

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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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I am 80 and had that done decades ago and survived just fine.

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@colleenyoung

@orchardgirl54 and others, you may also be interested in this related discussion:
– Mastectomy and breast reconstruction pros and cons? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mastectomy-1/

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Thank you Colleen. Very helpful !

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@thseabreze

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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@theseabreeze, I’m sorry you had so much pain. I had a TRAM flap done in 1996, but I didn’t have a lot of pain (other than the headache from the morphine PCA pain medicine pump.)

Then again, that was 26 years ago, so I may not recall it correctly.

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