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Sunday, August 02, 2009 Sheila, Community Member, asks

Q: I had breast cancer in my right breast 6 years ago. .

Now I have two places in my left breast of which show to be non cancerous.  I have not had another surgery.  My oncologist and radiation doctor think it is time to consider a double mastectomy.  Does anyone have any advise.  The doctors say these places will not go away.  I will have to keep having mri's and sonograms.  They think life is too short to spend all your time at the doctor's office.  And this is the same way things started in the right breast.  Thanks for all your advise.  Sheila

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Answers (1)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
8/ 2/09 10:19pm

Sheila, having a prophylactic double mastectomy would definitely lower your risk of a new breast cancer in your left breast, and a recurrence (or new cancer) in your right.  Not eliminate it entirely, but cut it back by about 90%.

 

However, a double mastectomy alone is major surgery; add reconstruction, if you're considering it, and it's even more serious. You may have long-lasting shoulder issues.

 

What it boils down to is this: how worried are you? If you're really quite stressed, and feel like you simply want to be done with the worry, then consider the bilateral mastectomy seriously. If you're someone who'd rather deal with things as they come along, and have confidence that things will turn out favorably, then continue with the "watchful waiting."

 

You also might consider a second set of opinions from another surgeon/radiation oncologist; that might help tip you one way or another. Good luck - PJH

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By Sheila, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/17/10, First Published: 08/02/09