I asked my breast surgeon today for his thoughts on mastectomy for someone in my boat:
- early-stage breast cancer.
- no spread to lymph nodes or anywhere else.
- lumpectomy + chemo + radiation + Herceptin.
- seven years survival.
“Definitely not,” he told me. “You’ve come too far, and you are doing so well.”
Plus, I am constantly monitored, and, at this point, my chance of developing a life-threatening breast cancer is slim.
There’s just no need for a such a drastic and major surgery, he said. The resident on service with him agreed.
I told my doc that it seems a trend that woman are removing their breasts after diagnosis rather than saving them when conservation is a real option.
“It is a trend,” he said, sharing that he spends lots of hours in lots of meeting discussing why women are moving in this direction.
If not medically necessary, mastectomy is just not something he supports. He even advises women who do need mastectomy for cancer in one breast to not remove the other one. Why? Because lopping off a healthy breast does not up the odds of survival.
Never did I actually want to cut off my breasts — I just wondered if it was a wise move for someone like me. The majority of readers who responded to my November poll Mastectomy — Do It? Or Too Drastic? chose “Do It.”
But my surgeon picks “Too Drasic,” and so I’m gonna roll with his wisdom.