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Question? Lumpectomy vs Simple Masectomy

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
An update on my mom.

The results from the MRI biopsy show the second spot in her right breast is not cancerous!! So she has the choice of having a lumpectomy and 6 weeks of radiation or a simple masectomy.

She sees the oncologist tomorrow and is still undecided on what she should do. She is 79 years young and is in pretty good health,on Fosamax and BP meds. To me I would like to see her gain some weight though.

If she goes the lumpectomy/radiation route she has a 20-25 minute drive one way to the hospital. She isn't really keen on going to that hospital as there is one much closer but the docs are based out of the one further away.

I think my dad or another relative (her sister/niece) could possibly go with her. For me its a 2 hour trip so thats not going to work. However I have heard that after the 3rd week some fatigue might set in so I'm thinking of perhaps making some meals for the freezer so she wouldn't have to mess with that and then going once/week for the last three weeks.

If she chooses the other route its a overnite stay or two days in hospital then the recovery period which I'm not sure how long that is.

So if anyone themselves had to have this done or close friends/family could you pass on the experiences?? My parents do not have a computer so I will call and relay the information.

post #2 of 12

My mom is 76 and has a small, grade 1/stage 1 tubular carcinoma of the left breast. She was faced with the EXACT treatment options as your mom. She chose simple mastectomy. Everyone we've discussed with since agrees as radiation is TOUGH on a body and the irradiated breast is usually not that pleasant---burned, leathery and often hardened. Not to mention the wear and tear and stress of doing treatments, etc.

For my mom, this is the right choice for her, and she is scheduled for surgery next Tuesday. I hope everything goes as planned. They will also biopsy the sentinel node to make sure there is no spread to the lymphs. If not, she will be considered free and clear of the cancer.

Good luck with your mom's decision and her journey. Let me know if you want an update on my mom's experience next week.

post #3 of 12
My mom had both a lumpectomy and mastectomy--a double.

The lumpectomy didn't get all of the cancer so she was faced with a second surgery where she opted to go ahead and take both so that she and her family would never have to face this all again and then had chemo for 6 months.

I say mastectomy--in my honset opinion there are a lot less risks afterwards.

My mom is much younger (51) but the recovery for her mastectomy was pretty quick--and she even started the reconstruction process at the same time--which may have added to her recovery time.

I'll keep your mom in my prayers.

post #4 of 12
When my mom was 42 she was diagnosed with stage 2-3 breast cancer in both breasts....with mets to the lymph nodes on the right side. she had a double mastectomy...a simple on the left and a radical on the right. She also had a year and a half of chemotherapy....went into congestive heart failure...and had to stop treatments.

She is now in remission and her heart is stong again....

I will say that her radical side was VERY painful and troublesome....and her reconstructive surgery was even worse.

But her simple side gave her no trouble.

If your moms lump is benign then why does she have to have radiation in the first place?

But through all I have seen with my mom and with healthcare, I would take no chances and I wouldnt put my body through the radiation... The simple mastectomy is a procedure that is done all the time, with few difficulties.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Mom has one DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) and one LCIS Laval(?)carcinoma in situ. The LCIS is only a marker and is not cancerous. If both were DCIS the masectomy would be the only option as the spots are 1.5 inches apart.

She has surgery scheduled for next monday at 9 am-just do not know which way she is leaning towards as of yet.
post #6 of 12
My Mom just had the lump removed and she died Sept 13 1999 because it came back and went to her lungs. We have always wondered if she would have had a chance if she went the other way. She had Rad and Chemo also.
Would you like to join the cancer group I am in. They can help you alot and give your Mom advice.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Actually my sister works for a foundation that give grants to medical research and she just spoke with a radiation oncologist for an hour today. She has talked with many about the way to go.
They advised mom to so the lumpectomy as she is in a low stage currently.
post #8 of 12
I hope everything goes well with your Mom.
post #9 of 12
Gail, I don't have any real insight on the options for you, but I do have a resource that might help you and your family as you consider the options.

The association I work for sponsors the website It's a site that was developed by pathologists to help patients understand their biopsy results. The site includes a pretty thorough description of both Ductal Carcinoma in Situ and Lobular Carcinoma in Situ. It's written in layman's terms and includes definitions of some of the medical jargon that's used in regards to the diagnosis. You can download the information sheets as a PDF and print them out for your parents or other family members.

I hope it's at least a little help.
post #10 of 12
I had Stage 2B Breast Cancer. Went through 5 1/2 months of Chemo, that sucked. I worked a full-time 40 hour a week the entire time I was going through treatment. The Chemo does tire you out, not at first, but after a few months, but they give you shots of Procrit which perked me right up.

Had surgery, a Lumpectomy, surgery was a breeze, in at 6:00 A.M. did the surgery, out and on my way home by noon. I could have driven myself home.
The incision was neglible, I didn't even take any of the pain pills prescribed to me. I went hiking in the mountains 3 days after surgery, true story.

After a month, 7 1/2 weeks of radiation. Every weekday, Monday through Friday. In and out in 20 minutes top. Radiation is nothing, a piece of cake.
My skin got just a tad reddened, like a mild sunburn, no big deal at all. They will give your mom some really good ointment. My skin is not scarred or leathery.

I strongly recommend the lumpectomy/radiation route. Your mom must have caught it pretty early if they are not having her go through Chemo. As long as it is only radiation, it will be fine. Good luck to your mom, I hope this has helped a little. Feel free to PM me anytime. It may take me a few days to get your PM but I will answer. God bless
post #11 of 12
my mother had a lumpectomy several years ago, + radiation & chemo - her breast lump WAS cancerous, & hormone sensitive. she also took Tamoxifen for several years [anti-hormone] to counteract the cancer. she's been cancer-free since then.
the radiation has had some good side effects - hair no longer grows under that arm, & she doesn't have to use deodorant there, either, since that underarm doesn't sweat.
because her cancer was hormone sensitive, i chose not to do HRT [i think she was doing HRT at the time of her diagnosis]. i decided osteopenia/osteoporosis was a better choice than breast cancer.
i did have a non-cancerous lump around 20-25 years ago. they did a needle aspiration & checked for cancer - since it was non-cancerous, no further action was ever taken. i think i just have 'lumpy' breasts - the original one is back, there are a couple of new ones - but no cancer. possibly never having had children contributes to it, somewhat - my breasts are still quite dense because of this.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well mom is having the lumpectomy on Monday morning at 9:30. Depending on how long I'll be at out patient I may spend the night.
She has been very anxious over her decision which the oncologist agreed is the best for her stage one cancer. I'll let you know how it goes and when radiation is planned to start.
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