Mastectomy and radiotherapy

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Im 28 years old and recently diagnosed with dcis. Im having a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction in a few weeks time, ive been told that i also need radiotherapy. Has anyone else had the same? If so how was it for you? 

  • Hi,

    I’m almost five weeks on from surgery, mastectomy and DIEP flap. Everything went well medically. The most discomfort comes from the DIEP flap reconstruction but slowly improving. What procedure are you having? 

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to Littlesedum

    Hello, thankyou for responding, i am having a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction with an implant. 

  • Hi.. so sorry to find you here-I’m 38-I had a nipple and skin sparing surgery (mastectomy??) with immediate reconstruction using an implant. I haven’t had radiotherapy. Implant surgery went well- scars healed very well- will hardly notice scars. Does feel a bit weird as no feeling in breast but the end result look wise I am happy with- looks great in a bra- you would never know! Felt a little heavy on chest straight after op and had to be careful lifting things and moving straight after but 3 months later and all is good- don’t really notice it anymore! Glad I went for implant. Not sure if I replied to you elsewhere so apologies if I have! Any questions about implant I’m happy to answer but sorry can’t comment on the radiotherapy part! Good luck and hope all goes well! 

    Jo x
  • Hi,

    From what I understand if you opt for an implant and all being well surgically the recovery is quicker and kinder. It’s good you have made your choice and I’m sure there are lots of people on here who have  experienced similar. I hope everything goes well for you. 

  • Hi  I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, chemo and radiotherapy.
    Mastectomy went well, washing hair was a bit difficult, as you are advised that you can’t lift your arm up too much. Invest in a dry shampoo. The antibiotics I got made me sick, so I had to get anti sickness meds.

    I found radiotherapy a breeze compared to chemo. I used E45 cream but also La Roche Posay Cicaplast a soothing repair balm, it’s not cheap about £7.50 for a 40ml, but I found it brilliant for putting on the scar when you are able to do so.

    I didn’t have a problem with radiotherapy at all, no redness, no soreness, nothing. The radiotherapy itself is painless, you are in and out, it takes longer to undress and get dressed again than have the actually rads. You may wait in the waiting room for a time tho. I was lucky as all my appointments are between 6-7pm so it was quieter. Take a magazine or book, drink plenty of water. If you want to know anything else let me know x

  • Hi Jo - thanks for your post - I am having a single mastectomy next week with an implant reconstruction.  I have been wondering whether or not to bother with the implant... it makes me feel a bit more confident that you think it's OK.  I have been told that I will be uneven but presumably you can buy padded bras to compensate...  any tips for the hospital trip?  I keep reading that I need button up PJs hoping to avoid radiotherapy but won't know until post operation but fingers crossed.  Thanks for any top tips - so lovely to hear that you are on your way to recovery! x

  • Hi , I had never been in hospital before so I was really anxious- I asked lots of questions beforehand- wrote them down to ask. Yes button up pjs- I searched the land for them as it was during lockdown and shops had little stock but yes they are a must as it’s difficult to move your arm etc after. Also a good sports bra (one that you don’t have to put on over your head as I found that tricky! Get one that opens at the front maybe!) or a mastectomy bra- my surgeon used this for after the op (I woke up wearing it) with only plaster type dressings on wound to support. He said the bra support works better than any extra dressings to hold the implant in place until it settles so it doesn’t end up under my arm lol. I was told to wear a sports bra/support bra for 4-6 months after surgery 24 7 so I got two comfy soft but supportive ones for night time which I’m still wearing and my surgery was in August and I bought coloured zip up bras from amazon for during day. (My surgeon did tell me doesn’t matter what bra- whatever you feel comfortable in as long as I wore something!) Also I’d leave out some tops that button up front for when you get dressed after as I had to search through my clothes to find something to wear to appointments and maybe trousers that don’t involve a lot of pulling up like skinny jeans for the first wee while. I am due an appointment with surgeon now 4 months on for him to check everything. After my op I came around pretty fast- there’s always a nurse with you. I had a heated blanket on me for the first night in hospital to improve blood circulation to skin around implant- I was very warm (with hot flushes on top) so I had a wee cotton shorts and short sleeved button up set. You also have drains in after- I did not have all my lymph nodes removed- only some so my two drains were below my implant- but I know some people’s drains are sometimes higher up so short sleeves would be better if that’s the case. It is so important to do your exercises when they tell you to after to regain full mobility of arm and shoulder and to do drainage exercises but a physio will take you through those when the time is right. I now have full movement. The implant is a little weird as you have no feeling in it but no one would ever know when in a bra. My surgeon did a really good job- yes my breasts are slightly different but nothing serious as far as I’m concerned anyway! I would say that my breast looked very different and swollen and bruised straight after until bruising and swelling went down so don’t panic and it does change! The implant felt heavy and alien at first so don’t worry- I don’t notice it anymore. I couldn’t lie on my side for ages so had to lie on back mostly but that’s now ok too! I found being in the car bumpy and uncomfortable after and the seatbelt was a worry- I used a cushion in between seatbelt if I needed to go out but no driving yourself for a while. I’m now back driving a couple of months ago. It all really depends on the person- everyone is different and my experience could be completely different from yours too so do what suits you! Bring slip on slippers instead of booties for hospital as they are easier and a dressing gown/blanket to keep implant warm! Hope that helps a little. Any other questions just ask. I hope all goes well! Xx

    Jo x
  • Oh and a drain bag I found very useful to carry your drains about in although some hospitals will give you one? I bought one from the cancer research online shop- was waterproof so I could pat down shower after a little easier. Yes washing hair was difficult- I got my sister to help but even then bending over bath was difficult for a while so dry shampoo is a great idea!

    Jo x
  • Jo,

    Thank you so much - you have been so helpful and I feel that I know what to buy now - tier 4 and isolating but thank goodness for Amazon!!  You have really helped me by giving a realistic picture - I really appreciate your frank honesty and taking the time to reply on New Year's Eve.  Let's hope for a better 2021 - I am so pleased that you are on the mend... Happy New Year and a massive thank you for your helpful advice.