Re: [MOL] breast implants [01863] Medicine On Line

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Re: [MOL] breast implants

Dear Kat,

I don't know if I understand everything you said.  But I'll try my best,
anyway.  I was treated for fibrocystic breast disease for about 7 years.
You, seem to be saying that you've had biopsies for this too.  I always
understood from my surgeon, that these kinds of biopsies tend to cause scar

It seems like you have to start from, am I well.  And from what you say, you
seem to be well.  But the occasional breast lumps you are finding are
scaring the heck out of you, and making you feel, maybe I'd be better off if
someone relieved me of these mammary glands.

I can identify with this.  My lumps surely scared the heck out of me.  But
one thing I don't quite understand.  How are you being followed?  With my
lumps, I was in my late 20's, early 30's, when breast tissue is dense and
hard to see through.  I always heard that this would be an easier thing to
deal with when I got older because breast tissue became less dense and
therefore, diagnosis of any problem would be easier.  I understand you still
feeling scared a lot.  Heaven knows, I do before I go for check-ups and
until I hear the results.  But the question for you seems to be do I need to
find a way to help myself deal with checkups or have bilateral prophylactic

I have struggled with cancer for a long time; about 25 years.  One thing
I've learned is that anytime the body gets cut, it experiences this as a
trauma.  And another thing, is that general anesthesia itself, can cause
death.  It certainly didn't do that to me, and thank God, everyday it
doesn't do that to millions of people.  But, like a speeding bus, it's one
of those things I try to avoid if I can.

To have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomies, it would probably be a good
idea to get some genetic counseling.  Do you have a family history?  Has
genetic testing been done on the tissue removed from the surgery you had, to
see if you are an overexpressor of, (I think they call it BRCA1 and2), and
thus some genetic predisposition involving cancer.  What about the pathology
reports on the tissue removed? It sounds as if they found your lymph nodes
to be normal and your lump to be cancer, but they probably said a lot more
than that.  Everything should go into the pot to help you decide what you
want to do.

I took tamoxifen for about 8 months.  I never noticed a particular problem
with hair and skin.  But that's probably, to some degree, because I had my
thyroid removed about 20 years ago.  That can cause dry hair and skin by

You sound very much at sea.   What I do when I have been, or am, feeling at
sea, is sit down, decide where I am going to port, check my maps and try to
steer myself into land.  Once you see the big picture, and feel secure in
your choice, you might even no longer be troubled by the dry skin and hair.
You  may be right about the tamoxifen, but, I suppose, there are so many
things, like stress, that can probably cause this as well.

I have found this list to be a very good place to be; and have learned more
from it in a day than I have found in any books I have bought about cancer
since.  You might benefit too, from going to a local support group for women
who have had cancer.  It might be a good source of support for you.

With love and hugs,

Martha Cerreto

P.S.:  I have had a saline bag implant for the past nine years.  I have had
no trouble with it.  I understand what Joicy is saying.  My experience has
been much less bothersome.  Let's just say, having a mastectomy doesn't make
any of us look like Barbie and this can create other problems that we all
must address in our own way.   But for me, I think, that must be a post for
another day.
-----Original Message-----
From: Joicy <>
To: <>
Date: Friday, April 23, 1999 9:33 PM
Subject: Re: [MOL] breast implants

>Dear Kat, I am so sorry to hear about the difficult year that you have
>been having, and I can understand your desire to find some alternatives.
>As Lillian said, these are very personal decisions, and we all react a
>little differently. Only you can decide what is best for you. That being
>said, I am happy to share a little of my own experience as a 4-year
>breast cancer survivor who *had* to have a mastectomy, and chose
>If you can avoid it, I don't recommend a mastectomy for cancer
>prevention, for a variety of reasons. For one, my chest feels like I am
>permanently wrapped in a giant ace bandage that I can never remove.
>Though I have learned to tune it out most of the time, it is a constant
>source of discomfort, even when it doesn't ache. I have an implant, and
>my new breast is hard like a childs ball, and about as flexible, which
>makes finding bras that fit an endless hassle. If the bra is flexible
>enough to fit around it, it "shows" too much; if it is less transparent,
>it usually isn't flexible enough to fit the weird shape.
>The worst part is that while removing your breasts may cut some of your
>risk, it WON'T give you 100% protection; you can still contract breast
>cancer. I originally planned to have both breasts removed, the second as
>a precaution, because I have a type of breast cancer that is more likely
>to show up in the other breast. But the more I learned, the less it
>seemed like a good option.
>I do have a friend, who like you, had a lumpectomy followed by a number
>of scares and cystectomies. She finally opted for a double mastectomy,
>using the tram flap method of reconstruction, which looks a little more
>natural, but is a more major surgery. In adition, it can only be done
>once, so if you do contract cancer later, you're up a creek. My friend
>is in her 60's, and seems happy with her choice. I'm in my 40's, and I
>decided that tamoxifen and vigilance were probably the better route for
>Again, my friend, only you know what is best for you, but you may want
>to consider giving yourself a little time to recover from all you've
>gone through, and then see how you feel about further surgeries. It may
>be worth it to you, but it will not be without a cost. Only you can
>decide if it's a cost you want to pay. All the best to you and your
>family -- I'll be keeping you in my prayers. Your friend, Joicy
>Kat Luker wrote:
>> Hi!!
>> I have undergone a lumpectomy and lymphectomy in June of 98.  I also
>> underwent 6 weeks of radiation therapy and fortunatly It did not seem
>> benifical for me to undergo chemotherapy.  I am currently on Tomoxefin
>> and seem to be doing well on it. I had a complete hysterectomy 4 years
>> ago and I believe taking estrogen therapy everyday was a big deciding
>> factor for my body to trigger breast cancer.  I do realize however
>> through some research of my own that there are many things that set you
>> up for breast cancer. I have underwent 2 cystectomies in November of 98
>> also.  To say the least this was very traumatic for my family, and for
>> me to discover more lumps.  Fortunatly they were benign.  I have
>> Fibromyalgia, and this agrevates my fibrotic breasts.  Please understand
>> that I am not complaining for I feel lucky so far, but! I had another
>> scare 2 weeks ago and it turned out to be scar tissue from the
>> cystectomies.  So 3 scares in 10 months has taken it's toll on my
>> emotions as well as my families.  I have 2 questions to anyone out there
>> that can give me first hand knowlege rather professional or personal on
>> the subjests of Tomoxifen and breast removal to prevent further cancer.
>> I seem to have very brittle hair now and skin since going on tomoxifen
>> is anyone else experiencing these side effects?  Also I would like to
>> hear from any women that had her breasts removed as a cancer prevention,
>> and had implants put in.  I have an Aunt who died from breast cancer and
>> one that has survied 25 years.  The one who survived had implants put in
>> and had trouble with scar tissue and pain.  The result of the scar
>> tissue being the cause of her implants to collapse.  I have almost no
>> scar tissue on the breast that had the lumpectomy, and a massive amount
>> just since November on the opposite breast that had the cystectomy.  I
>> had a very excellent surgeon who performed both surgeries and I have
>> complete faith in him.  It seems to be a mystery  as to why I had two
>> totaly different reactions in my breasts.  I do realize that this would
>> be a huge decision for me to have my breasts removed and put implants
>> in.  I have no way to get the opinion of any women on the subject that
>> have actually done it and can give me the pros, and cons.  I need to
>> have alot of info before I can make an informed decision.
>> I am 46 years old for general knowlege, and our family remains young for
>> our ages.  That is why I am wondering about the Tomoxifen and if it
>> could be causing my brittle hair and thinning.
>> Thank you to anyone out there that can give me some first hand info.
>> Kat Luker
>> email address is
>> P.S. a very good book for all women to read is  Dr. Bob Arnot's  Breast
>> cancer prevention diet.  My onocologist recommended it and it is very
>> informative and eye opening. Should be given to all young girls with
>> breast cancer in their family, and used as a handbook.
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