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Jul 18, 2007 03:09PM
I just had a prophylactic mastectomy on my right side with an immediate lat flap, and after you hear my story, hopefully you will go into your surgery with no fear.
The reason I had a prophylactic mast is because every time I went in for a mammo (I'm two years out from BC on my left side and had a mastectomy, chemo and rads), there was always some weird thing that they had to look into, meaning ultrasounds, MRI's, and biopsies. My onc kept saying, "You don't need to get the other breast removed. Only 10-20% of women get breast cancer in the other breast."
I highly respect my oncologist, but I also love my surgeon, who kept insisting that I get my right breast removed. I was so caught in between them and didn't know what to do for the last two years. Finally I decided to just go ahead with it and start my reconstruction. I had the same fears as you, "What if they find cancer in that breast?". But I figured if they did, at least we would know, rather than have it metastasize like my my sister's just did.
After my surgery, my surgeon came to the hospital and said she removed my setinal node and it was clear (YAY!) and that the breast was clear of any tumors! I was so happy! But 10 days later, at my follow up, both my onc and surgeon came in and let me know that that breast was sent to pathology and came back "FILLED with pre-cancerous cells", meaning I would have ended up with breast cancer in my right breast in the next couple of years. They were jumping for joy, saying "We got it! You never have to worry about the right breast again!" My onc said we still have to keep an eye on the left breast, since I did have a couple of lymph nodes involved when they first found my cancer. But I thank God every day that I went ahead and did the prophylactic mastectomy.
I hope that helps you feel better about going in. Fear is the one thing that is more crippling and dangerous than anything when it comes to cancer. I find it's best to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can to make the best decisions possible. The more knowledge you own, the less fear you seem to have.
Good luck on whatever you decide!
Cancer, like any other illness, is a bore...... Alan Bennett, Dramatist
2/28/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIb, Grade 3, 2/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-