Sep 4, 2016 09:02AM - edited Sep 4, 2016 09:05AM by isee
Hi again Briley,
I was also offered a double mastectomy due to my family history (as they didn't yet know my BRCA2+ status at my time of diagnosis). My cancer was very close to the chest wall apparently, so my rational for not having it done was that I felt with the cancer being so close to the chest wall and the type of cancer that Tubular is, with all the little branches, rather than a lump, I was worried that they may have missed some during my surgery and if they did a mastectomy, they would no longer be looking with ultrasound and or mammogram and the cancer could reoccur. If there is something going on, I want it found early and treated. Not left to spread. Also, my sister who had breast cancer at 37 (DCIS I believe) and was aggressively treated because of her age, had a lumpectomy, rads, and chemo had a reoccurance in both breasts just last year at 61 years of age. She opted to have a double mastectomy, and then take tamoxifen. She was planning on having immediate reconstruction but was told by the doctor about 2 days before the procedure that she needed to lose weight before they could do the reconstruction. She went ahead with the double mastectomy and I have to say is one of the unfortunate ones who has had to deal with several complications since her surgery. One of which is that she feels that the skin on her chest is too tight and pulls, causing pain. The other complication was blood clots that developed a short time after the surgery. I'm not sure if they were from the surgery or from the Tamoxifen, but she had to give herself very expensive injections in her abdomen daily, for months. She has recently seen a specialist about her chest skin tightness and he said it is a complication in about 10% of mastectomy procedures. He is going to do more surgery and recut the chest in a zig zag pattern to allow the tissue a bit more flexibility and so it is not so tight. Hopefully this gives her some relief. Anyway, if I had to have a mastectomy because my doctor tells me I need to I would, but I will not opt for it as a preventative measure. It is a major surgery and if lumpectomy and rads can take care of a problem, I will opt for this. Sorry to be telling you a bad scenario, but I think it is important to be informed of all possibilities... Regarding my not taking Tamoxifen, I have recently done some research on a drug called Metformin and have found that it reduces diseases of aging, type 2 diabetes as well as cancerous tumor growths...it has very minimal side effects, and is well tolerated by most people. They have done studies on Type 2 Diabetics who have taken it long term and have found that they live, on average 8 years longer than those who don't take it. There is currently a study happening in the UK to see if it actually allows people to live longer do to the fact that it does seem to prevent diseases of aging....including Parkinson's, dementia etc. So it's a long term gamble, but I'm trying it out. Time will tell lol.
grainne, regarding my grade 2 status, that is what was written on my diagnosis paper...that's all I know. My cancer was over 1cm. Large for slow growing Tubular...maybe that is why, I'm not sure.
On another note, I also have Irish heritage. My Great grandfather was born in Ireland... family name was Fitzpatrick! Luck of the Irish to you Briley...keep us posted on what you decide to do.