Choosing not to have reconstruction

Hi everyone,

I am facing a mastectomy (right side only at this stage) and I feel that I don't want reconstruction. I am worried though about how I will feel after the operation and would really love to hear from women who have already been through this and who also chose not to have reconstruction. I am also worried about how my husband will cope - he tries to reassure me as best he can but he is only human so although he doesn't say so, I can sense he also has his concerns.

It is hard to come to terms with only having one breast? How long has it taken you to adjust to your new body? Do you have any tips for me?

Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to share their experience with me.

  • I knew I didn’t want a reconstruction I wanted the operation which was the quickest to do least likely to cause problems as I have tnbc and it is a long treatment regime. I had both off to be even I plan to have a meaningful tattoo once healed. A man will find you sexy if you have confidence but everyone is different only you know the answer it’s just getting to it that will be hard 

  • Hello i hope you are all doing well. I am having a left side only mastectomy which is the plan at the moment, i too have decided i dont want reconsructive surgery and have spoken lots with my husband about this, its a very personal decision which is not the right one for everyone but for me it is definitely the right choice.

    I too have triple negative breast cancer so i dont want any further surgeries or recovery time than needed as affer surgery i will have radiotherapy. Im also thinking of having a beautiful tattoo on this side. 

    Good luck with all your treatments.

  • Hi, Good luck to you all I was initially devasted when I was

    1. denied a reconstruction

    and then

    2. denied a reduction and lift on the good breast.

    All due to BMI and also covid. Eventually, I was offered a double mastectomy. I was very large busted and to have left one would have made me very unbalanced, but I had to fight for the double. I am very glad I did. I often go without a prothesis and when I do wear one I can now be a D or E cup rather than the H I was. 

    I do wish however there were clothes with built-in breast forms (available in the USA but not here) and that breast inserts were not so heavy. 

  • Yes i definitely can understand your fighting for the double in your situation. As i am not big busted ny surgeon said the issue with being unbalanced wouldnt be there as i too was concerned about this if i had the one breast only removed. As you say there are prosthesis and other things we can use to help with this.

    X

  • Hello, I had a right side Mastectomy in December 2020. I chose not to have a reconstruction as it wasn't something that was important to me & I just wanted to get on with the treatment. I'm also not big busted. After the surgery I wore camisole tops under tshirts whilst it healed & I gradually introduced in to wearing the prosthesis in my bra. I am now at the stage where I can honestly say that I wear the prosthesis in my bra & don't think about it anymore & it's just part of my routine in getting dressed. Wishing you lots of luck with your surgery & ongoing treatment xx

  • I am 18 months post right side mastectomy and have been offered reconstruct. Am 62 and can honestly say I don’t feel the need.  The scar looked pretty gruesome at first but has really settled and in some ways I wish I had had other breast removed but surgeon said not necessary. Clothes have not been an issue. Have found nice swimwear and breast pads. I use Nicola Jane for the breast pads they are feather light.  They do little pockets you sew into bras and swimwear. Although I have discovered many bras with a double layer can be snipped on the inside to create a pocket for the foamy pads.  Husband would like me to consider reconstruct but is happy with whatever I decide he is very supportive. 

    Stay Positive.  

  • Thanks for all your responses. It has been a really tough decision making process but I have decided not to have reconstruction (at least not to start with).

    In case it helps other women in the same situation, I'm happy to share my thought process but this thought process is of course unique to me and my situation, nonetheless in case it does help anyone, here it is:

    1) I feel nothing can replace my lost breast - I want to have time to come to terms with my "loss" before I decide whether or not I want to replace it.

    2) Based on my situation, the only difference between immediate reconstruction or delayed reconstruction is the nipple - if I went for immediate then they would remove the nipple, scrape it out and sow it back on but I was warned it would have no sensation. Going for delayed reconstruction will mean I have no nipple. But I have researched mastectomy tattoos and have been amazed by these fabulous pieces of art some women have tattooed on their bodies and have decided that I would prefer to have something new and beautiful to mark my new situation rather than trying to replicate something which I have lost and which can't be properly replicated.

    3) I have never been comfortable with the idea of silicon implants - breast cancer hasn't changed my opinion in that.

    4) I have already had to undergo a number of different operations for other medical issues, so I am "tired" of being operated on - I want as few procedures as possible - my body has already been though a lot.

    5) Medical advances give me hope that in the future perhaps a lab somewhere can grow me a boob from my own body tissue (lol - this is half joking, half serious ... we never know, I am still quite young ...)

    This has been an extremely emotional decision for me and I am not looking forward to my surgery. I am dreading waking up to my new body. It's the hardest thing I have ever faced in life.

  • Hi - I am about to have a mastectomy, in the next couple of weeks and I'm so scared not only about the operation but whether or not to have reconstructive surgery too, as I've been told it's a long painful process and I keep thinking am I being too vain for getting this done. But I know mentally -  for me personally, I have to get some reconstruction done.

    I think we have to do whats going to be the best for our well being. Some may be happy not get anything done, while others may want to. There's no wrong or right answer I guess and there's no guarantees that it will be successful for me - but I'm willing to take that chance.

    I've done lots of research and I too would like to speak to others who have had reconstructive surgery, as I'm so scared and would like to hear others story's. As I'm whelmed with everything I'm going through at the moment.

    My heart goes out to you with your own journey - I know that you too are scared and upset with what you're about to go through, I think this is only natural for us to feel this way. But I am sure we all will get through this,  we are women after all.. stay strong and positive

    Good luck x

  • Hi I have my appointment next week, regarding masectomy and reconstruction, I would like some reconstruction done at the time if I can, and then per when I am healed can decide properly xx