Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

Jenny in Florida

UPDATE with Decision - New Breast Cancer Treatment WWYD Question

Mastectomy: What would you do (or have you done)?  

29 members have voted

  1. 1. If you needed a unilateral mastectomy, would you:

    • Stick with the unilateral, keep the other breast and have reconstruction to replace the removed breast?
      4
    • Opt for bilateral (remove the second, healthy breast, too) and have reconstruction on both sides?
      8
    • Have the unilateral mastectomy and not have reconstruction?
      8
    • Have the bilateral mastectomy with no reconstruction?
      9


Recommended Posts

@Ktgrok  I did not chose to save my nipples as my surgeon did agree that removing them too reduced my chances of cancer.  It wasn't a huge difference but my goal was to not ever worry about BC again.   

I think many women chose tattooing, which I might investigate further later, but for now I use some great 'pasties' that look incredible.   

But yes, removing my post c-section tummy was a huge selling point!!!   I also go braless 98% of the time at this point which is wonderful.  

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

@Ktgrok  I did not chose to save my nipples as my surgeon did agree that removing them too reduced my chances of cancer.  It wasn't a huge difference but my goal was to not ever worry about BC again.   

I think many women chose tattooing, which I might investigate further later, but for now I use some great 'pasties' that look incredible.   

But yes, removing my post c-section tummy was a huge selling point!!!   I also go braless 98% of the time at this point which is wonderful.  

 

 

I think only recently have they had enough data to show that it doesn't increase the risk of cancer reoccurrence. Since your surgery was a while ago they probably didn't have that information yet, and erred on the side of being cautious. Now, that does stipulate that the surgeon knows to get all the tissue out of the nipple core, leaving only skin. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been ten years since I had unilateral, no reconstruction. I wear a prosthesis and it has worked well. I didn't want to deal with any more surgeries, so I opted for no reconstruction.

I'm happy with the decision for the most part, but there are times when I wish I would have had both breasts removed so I don't have to worry about the other one (I've had a few scares and MRIs with the remaining side).

It's really your call, but I have been very comfortable with my choice. Everyone is different, but for me, losing a breast was not that big of a deal, other than the initial shock and processing of the options (which is where you are now). I'm active and do sports, and have found suitable mastectomy bras and prostheses. I wish you all the best with whatever you choose.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would do the same on both sides.  Whether to reconstruct or not would depend on what not reconstructing would look like, and whether I'd have to pay out of pocket for that part.  I would also want to talk to others who have had reconstruction to ask about how that experience is.

I have a relative who recently had a mastectomy (or a partial?).  She told me that it is now standard procedure to do surgery on both so that they "match."  One reason is that it is essentially "necessary," since almost everyone will do something to make the two sides look similar anyway.  Another reason that a friend mentioned is that once you've had cancer in one breast, you have a good chance of getting it in the other breast and needing it removed down the line, so might as well do it as a preventive measure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say my relative who had bilateral was thrilled to not have big breasts any more.  Apparently that is a huge pain (I wouldn't know personally).

Her husband commented "nobody asked me what I thought about that."  😛  But he is supportive of her choice, obviously.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SKL said:

I would do the same on both sides.  Whether to reconstruct or not would depend on what not reconstructing would look like, and whether I'd have to pay out of pocket for that part.  I would also want to talk to others who have had reconstruction to ask about how that experience is.

I have a relative who recently had a mastectomy (or a partial?).  She told me that it is now standard procedure to do surgery on both so that they "match."  One reason is that it is essentially "necessary," since almost everyone will do something to make the two sides look similar anyway.  Another reason that a friend mentioned is that once you've had cancer in one breast, you have a good chance of getting it in the other breast and needing it removed down the line, so might as well do it as a preventive measure.

I think most, if not all, US health plans cover reconstruction so long as it is done within some time-frame (say, two years). I remember reading an article about this when the tide turned because it was (finally) acknowledged that this is an important psychological need for some or many women and it does not fall under the category of vanity. 

When my mom had BC surgery, they basically instructed her what they would do (which s different from how mine was handled, which was much more in my own court). They did the flap procedure because she had enough abdominal tissue. They also reduced the unaffected breast to create symmetry. I personally thought it was a little weird that they instructed her with the plan rather than provide options, but maybe some of this depends on the personality of the patient (my mom is acquiescent and doesn’t project assertiveness about health decisions) and probably also age of the patient. 

On your last point about having cancer in the other breast, this partially depends on the type of cancer and is not necessarily the case for every BC patient. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, SKL said:

I would do the same on both sides.  Whether to reconstruct or not would depend on what not reconstructing would look like, and whether I'd have to pay out of pocket for that part. 

 

1 hour ago, Quill said:

I think most, if not all, US health plans cover reconstruction so long as it is done within some time-frame (say, two years). I remember reading an article about this when the tide turned because it was (finally) acknowledged that this is an important psychological need for some or many women and it does not fall under the category of vanity.  

 

My nurse navigator tells me that insurance plans are required by law to cover reconstruction.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jenny in Florida said:

My nurse navigator tells me that insurance plans are required by law to cover reconstruction.

And my understanding is there is no time limit at all.  So as long as you have typical insurance, you can plan for reconstruction at any time in the future.   I plan to have one more revision and likely won't get around to it for another 2-3 years.   However, keep in mind the insurance pays at their 'usual' rate so you are still responsible for all deductibles, copays, etc.  They do add up.  

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

9 minutes ago, ZiMom said:

And my understanding is there is no time limit at all.  So as long as you have typical insurance, you can plan for reconstruction at any time in the future.   I plan to have one more revision and likely won't get around to it for another 2-3 years.   However, keep in mind the insurance pays at their 'usual' rate so you are still responsible for all deductibles, copays, etc.  They do add up.  

 

Yes, and the surgeon will likely perform the operation in such a manner that one can change one's mind and go ahead and do the reconstruction.  Always good to confirm that during the pre-op discussion.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jenny, your thread  inadvertently did me a favor. I had been putting off looking into whether or not I have the textured implants that are now under recall. I now know that my implants are the smooth type, not the textured type. I had to call the plasitc surgeon's office because I could not find the card with the data. Fortunately, the surgeon's office still had easy access to my surgery report and I was able to quickly find out the answer. 

Learn from my mistake: If you get the implants, keep track of the card that describes them in detail. Forever. I probably have it somewhere, but I can't find it. In my defense, I have moved three times since 2006 - including moving overseas and back.

And yes, I did intentionally put this off. I have been through the wringer with health scares too many times. Unless the health scare would benefit from IMMEDIATE action, I wait until it suits me mentally to deal with whatever it is. I had learned about the recall over the summer, and decided I could wait a bit when I read that the FDA was not recommending removal of the recalled implants unless there are symptoms. But your thread reminded me not to wait TOO long.

Breast Cancer.org: Recall of textured implants and tissue expanders due to rare lymphoma (ALCL) concerns

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...