How to come to terms with single mastectomy?

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How do you come to terms emotionally with having a single mastectomy without reconstruction? Especially when you're big breasted? 

  • Hi  I replied to another one of your posts a short while ago.  You will probably get more responses on the main breast cancer site.  Or try the Awake site as some of the ladies on there have had mastectomies. Here is the link https://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/chat-breast-cancer/f/breast-cancer-forum/128753/awake

    i think you said you can’t have a reconstruction because of radiotherapy but what about after radiotherapy can you have a reconstruction then?  I’m not the best person to advise but try posting again on AWAKE or on the main breast cancer forum which is much busier than this one.

  • Thanks. I dont understand what the AWAKE thread is about or for. I understand its aim even less when I read the posts. 

  • Hi the AWAKE thread is just a place anyone can join and chit chat about anything you want.  There are lots of ladies on there who are either going through treatment or finished treatment and are there to chat and support.  There is often someone on even in the early hours so it's a good place to go if you can't sleep and need to talk to someone.

    I know some of the ladies on there have had a mastectomy so might be able to help you a bit more.

    Hope you are feeling a bit better today.

  • I had single mastectomy 1.5year ago. I want to have the other breast gone as well. It's been the worst 1.5 year for me. I wanted both breast gone straight away after I was diagnosed but the doctor said that the operation is more  complicated and more complications can happen after you have double mastectomy and because cancer was really advance they were in a hurry so we had just one breast removed.The doctor said you are young I am 36 and it's better to do reconstruction later.. Living with one breast is a nightmare for me. I am not wearing the "fake "breast as have discomfort on that side. I can wear only sports bra. It's annoying . Nothing looks good on you when you have one breast size E. I am constantly conscious about it especially when it's summer and you cant hide it under cardigans etc. Can't wait for the doctor to cut the other one off! 

  • I'm so sorry, Sparkler. I really empathise.  I'm a big cup size too (36HH). And like you I asked to have the healthy breast removed, I would rather be symmetrical than so significantly lopsided in both size and weight. The consultant said no, though. There appear to be only 2 quality non-wired bras in my size in existence - structurally wires are needed at this end of the size range - and they're not sports bras. I've been wearing them for a couple of weeks to get used to them before surgery. I hope they prove comfortable enough after I've healed because there isn't anything else.  The support is poor compared to underwires, which is already affecting my posture and neck pain. But there just isn't the choice when you're big boobed. 

    I hope you find some better ways to manage and feel good about yourself. Take care. 

  • Why the consultant said no to you? I was told that year after finishing treatment they can  make reconstruction or take off the other one too I need to be assessed by psychologist first thought. It make me feel like I am crazy that I want other breast gone. I don't understand how they can think it's ok to leave people with one breast less harmful... I just want to be equal on both sides as well but I don't want to have fake boobs etc. It feels sometimes like I don't have a say and it's my body.

  • I could wear underwires bra after surgery. First it felt really uncomfortable at the side where breast was removed. Second the remaining breast was pooling it and it just look awful if you don't wear the fake breast.There are online website with mastectomy bras (AMOENA)where you put fake breast in a pocket which are nice as it more secure and it stay in place. I wear those sometimes on special occasions and they are more comfortable than regular bra.Have a look maybe at them?

    Anyone is different so maybe it will be different for you. 

    Best of luck

  • Thanks, Sparkler. Unfortunately purpose built mastectomy bras aren't made up.to my cup size, apparently. The largest I've seen are D/E cups and I'm something like 6 cup sizes too big for those. However the two non wired bras that I've discovered can have pockets sewn into them, so that is the route i'll have to try  It would be great to think I could wear underwired again one day, but all the literature ive read says it's not possible after mastectomy and radiation. 

    I would like to think that an autologous reconstruction might be possible further down the line. But it would also mean breast reduction on the healthy side - and all that is assuming the NHS offer it by then and that I heal with few enough complications to make it possible. I try not to live in the world of "maybe one day" though, it tends to lead to disappointment. I would rather try to come to terms with what I've got, if I can, that way anything else is a bonus