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I'm considering a unilateral mastectomy following DCIS diagnosis

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Hi. I'm newly diagnosed with DCIS following a biopsy to my left breast. Two areas of DCIS found (located near each other), 8 mm each, 1- ER+ graded intermediate, 1 - ER Neg. graded Advanced. I'm trying to decide between a mastectomy of my left breast or radiation followed by tamoxifen. I'd like to connect with women who had a unilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, especially women who have a larger breast (I'm size 36C). I'm interested in finding out how the recovery process was, and what they did regarding a prosthetic and bra fitting (was it challenging with a larger breast and a flat breast). Thank you so very much!

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  • amel_83
    amel_83 Member Posts: 157
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    Hi, sorry to ear that.

    I had a bilateral mastectomy, with no reconstruction, to be more simmetrical and scared of future tumor on other breast. SO I'm not exactly what you are looking for...

    But I can just give you an advice...if possible, after mastectomy full recovery, I think it is important to do a little bit of back strenghtening exercise, as the change of weight and posture due to mastectomy can eventually cause backache. I didn't know, so I never did and developed backache, than had to do fiosioterapy for months and eventually the pain went away. But exercise done as preventive are definitely better.

  • joyful_19
    joyful_19 Member Posts: 4
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    Thank you for sharing this amel_83. I hadn't thought about potential backaches. So good to know of it.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,183
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    Hi again @joyful_19,

    We're sure you'll get some more great responses here soon, but you might also want to read up on this super helpful thread:

    We hope this helps!

    —The Mods

  • miriandra
    miriandra Member Posts: 2,102
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    My situation was very similar to yours! I was offered a lumpectomy, but because my tumor was kind of comet shaped and higher in my breast, my doc wasn't sure she'd get a good margin on the first surgery. Also, I wanted to avoid rads on my left side. Even though they're much better at aiming away from the heart, radiation treatments on the left side of the chest can still negatively affect heart tissues. So I opted for an Aesthetic Flat Closure without breast mound reconstruction.

    I'm so glad I did. My recovery was very easy - one and done surgery. Even though my oncotype was very low, they still put me on tamoxifen (we later switched to anastrozole) for the additional protection. I was also a 36C. My doc warned me that women with very large breasts (D and up) may experience back pain from uneven weight, but our size is less likely to develop that issue. One nice thing, if you live in the US, your insurance is obligated to cover any procedure that creates symmetry. So if you decide you want a double mastectomy or decide to reconstruct, those options will always be available to you.

    As for a prosthesis, I am openly flat. I like tops with 3-D draping or designs that distract the eye. Honestly, barely anyone notices. For bras, I typically wear cupless sports bras, as they mould comfortably over both my flat and breasted sides. AnaOno has designed a single-breasted formed bra, if you want something with more of a cup for your breasted side.

    And I have designed a line of swimwear for asymmetrical bodies.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,183
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    Wow, @miriandra! Your photos are stunning and your swimwear line is incredibly empowering. Thanks for sharing!

    The Mods

  • joyful_19
    joyful_19 Member Posts: 4
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    Mirianda, thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. I too am concerned about radiation affecting my heart. I've met with an oncology radiologist and she explained how their procedures minimize radiation to the heart. But I'm not convinced that even with their procedures that my heart would remain as healthy as it is today. I'm getting genetic testing done in January. If that shows I have a genes that increase my risk for BC then I will very likely get a unilateral mastectomy, and maybe a bilateral. And I do live in the US.

    You have the brightest smile! It's encouraging to see your smile reflecting there's joy after mastectomy. And congratulations on developing your swimwear line! What a great accomplishment!