Medical Update: Choosing between a lumpectomy and mastectomy
Nov 3, 2013 at 8:30 PM CST
Nov 3, 2013
Deciding between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy may be difficult especially when research shows both procedures are equally effective. Sylvia Benner remembers the day, more than ten years ago, when she found out she had breast cancer. "Before he sent me home he told me that my tests had come out positive for cancer." Sylvia underwent a mastectomy with reconstruction and said she sailed through the treatment with minimal pain, and was lucky that she didn't need chemotherapy. But ten years later, she woke up one morning and decided to go for a mammogram. "Usually they say if you make it for ten years you're home free... well with me it was... they found it in my 10th year, in my 10th year, and I was like... I got up in the morning and I told my husband I need to go get a mammogram. I wasn't scheduled, I wasn't... God has always guided me." Sylvia's results would come out positive again for breast cancer. And although her treatment the first time went very smooth, the second time she decided against reconstruction. "Being a woman, you feel that.. at least I did... I doubted... I said, ok, I've had a hysterectomy... I've lost one breast, even though I've had it reconstructed... and now I'm going to lose another one... do you stop being a woman? And my husband said, honey, you don't need breasts, he said A woman is in here, it's your love and your caring and your attention to your family that counts." Doctor Ivan Maderos says it's a decision that's often very difficult for women to make. "Some patients are really torn between the fear of having a recurrence, versus having a deformity." He says he talks with his patients ahead of time to help each patient make the best decision for their own treatment. "Studies have shown that lumpectomy with radiation has the same recurrence as a mastectomy, so there's really not an increase risk of recurrence as long as we follow protocols, as long as you are sure that you have a clean surgical margin." Sylvia is happy with her decision and encourages other women to do what's right for them. "You do it because of tomorrow not because of what happened of what may come, you do it because you've got a family and you've got tomorrow."