When Is Mastectomy Necessary?

From what I understand - it depends on stage, grade, node involvement, age, etc. whether or not a mastectomy is recommended. Today, woman are often given a choice when they are early stage with no nodes involvement. Sometimes, women will choose a mastectomy simply with the “hope” of a non-recurrence. With 0 nodes and a mastectomy at the early stage, doctors often will not recommend chemo or radiation after a mastectomy. Plus, many women prefer to get it done with reconstruction immediately after.

Others, like myself, chose a lumpectomy with radiation. Mine was very small so I went for the lumpectomy with radiation. However, when making my decision I asked my surgeon for the best statistics - she said that for early stage, the risk factor for recurrence was the same for both mastectomy and lumpectomy.

The bottom line is, if there is a positive lymph node, you will have chemo whether or not you have a mastectomy. For early stage BC, doctors now give the Oncotype Dx blood test. If you score 17 or less out of 100, you are a low risk and might get out of chemo with/without a mastectomy. Any higher, and chemo will be recommended. However, there will NEVER be a guarantee cancer won’t recur no matter what your Oncotype score or how early or late the stage BC we may have...

I know this is mind boggling... So, all we can do is read, talk to ALL your doctors, and check out these informative blogs on this site. Always consider getting a second opinion. Then, make the best decision for you...

By Linda Bartlett (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.

One Comment:

  • Vale: What is the recovery time after a mastectomy? Also, it seems like many women get a mastectomy and also have lymph nodes removed. Does this have any effect on their immune system?

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