I am a five-year survivor of breast cancer. My choice was a total mastectomy and reconstruction. I had a lump on my left breast, no lymph nodes appeared to be involved. I had three mammograms, two ultrasounds, and two biopsies. (I wanted to know exactly what was going on). I was not BRCA 2, and I worked with a Geneticist and found only one family member to have had breast cancer, and she was in her late 80s. I am so grateful for my decision! During surgery, 13 lymph nodes had to be removed under my left armpit and my lump was stage II. Had I chosen a lumpectomy, I’m not sure what the outcome would have been a few years down the road. Because of the size (smallness) of the lymph nodes and my breast tumor’s make- up, I did not have to undergo any radiation or chemo.
I did council extensively with all of my surgeons, Oncologist, and Oncology Social Worker about all of my options. I researched until I felt like a Dr myself…I know all of you understand!
After reading that the risk of cancer reacurrance was higher with a lumpectomy than with a mastectomy, it was an easy decision for me.
I am now a strong advocate for early detection, and support groups for women and men with Breast Cancer. It is a huge decision that only you can make. But is has to be an educated decision! Talk to women who have been through different surgeries and treatments, especially those who are several years out. Once you make your decision, it should be one that gives you peace of mind. Find a support group. Friends and family are essential, but so are other women who can truly relate to you and feel what you are feeling. Get phone numbers. Have someone you can call when a qestion pops up or you have one of those “moments”.
I cannot stress enough that this type of decision has to be your own, and it has to be an educated decision that applies to your situation, and please counsel extensively with all of your medical team and any family members you want involved.
You will make the right decision for you!!