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Decisions to Make After Having a Mastectomy

Updated on March 14, 2018
Just Ask Susan profile image

Susan is a breast cancer survivor who is now in remission after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

After having a mastectomy there is that big decision looming over your head as to whether you are going to have implants or not. Give yourself time to emotionally and physically heal first. I found there were many things to consider. Talk to health care professionals, visit with surgeons and find out what exactly is involved with implants and the different options available for this type of surgery. Be sure to discuss complications that can occur with such said surgery.

When I had my first of two mastectomies I had considered breast reconstruction with abdominal tissue.This is done by taking skin, muscle or fat from one area of the body and constructing it into your breast area. To read about this please follow this link Redefine Yourself.

My Decision

My decision was to opt out of implants and reconstruction for many reasons and sometimes I regret it but for the majority of the time, I am fine with the choice I made.


Breast Prosthesis

Should you choose to use a prosthesis, there is quite a number available to choose from. Most are made from a polymer gel or silicon, which are quite realistic in feel and in shape.

If someone happens to bump into you and touches your breast area they will in no way be able to tell that you are wearing a prosthetic.

These can be purchased in four skin tones and come in regular and plus sizes. When worn they move with you in the same way that any breast would. They can be worn in bathing suits and will not be harmed by salt water or chlorine but should be washed with a mild soap regularly.

You can wear a prosthesis in your regular bra but I would recommend purchasing mastectomy bras as they are made to hold the prosthesis with a sewn in pocket.

Attachable Breast Prosthetics

This type of prosthetic attaches directly to your skin and is wonderful to wear in a bathing suit or strapless dress.

Prosthetic Sizes

One would think that prosthetic sizes would be sized the same way in which a bra is but that is not the case. The sizes may vary according to which company makes your prosthetic so it is always best to be fitted by a surgical appliance technician for your first one.

Swimsuits

There are many swimsuits available online, at pharmacies, specialty shops and from Surgical Appliance Technicians. I personally buy mine at a local mall in a bathing suit store that just happens to carry many bathing suits for women that have had mastectomies.

© 2011 Susan Zutautas

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    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Christy, Nice to meet you and I've added a link above to your hub, hope you don't mind.

    • christryon profile image

      christryon 

      4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. I am also a breast cancer survivor and I WOULD NOT have reconstructive surgery if someone paid me! My Dr was very wise when she gave me the following advice: Do your long term research and decide what you will or will not regret doing 10, 15, or 20 years in the future.

      I did that! I spent 5 hours researching the long-term satisfaction of women who have had reconstructive surgery. The results were: 93% of the women who had had reconstructive surgery, WOULD NOT DO it again. 50% had major complications during the first 5 years.

      I LOVE not having breasts and one of my favorite things about it is that I DON'T have to have mammograms anymore.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Earthy Mother, Nice to meet you. It is a very hard decision to make. I still to this day think about having reconstruction, then after I ponder it for a few days I go nah. But that's me. I'm sure you'll make the decision that's right for you.

    • Earthy Mother profile image

      Earthy Mother 

      6 years ago from South East England

      Hey Susan...just found your hubs ...thank you for writing them...it is reassuring to hear about your experiences and absolutely brilliant that you had your children after chemo... There is a wealth of negative news and experiences to find out there on the web and it's encouraging to see having breast cancer was just a blip for you. I'm currently getting through that 'blip' but your story makes all the difference. It's also interesting to hear your views about the reconstruction as I too dread more surgery and need to make a decision about which way to go. Thank you xx

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Emily, Thank you for commenting and for sharing the Kimberley Ashmand link.

    • Emily219 profile image

      Emily219 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for the great article. And thank you for sharing the women's personal health link. I usually get get mastectomy bras from them or from Kimberly Ashmand (http://kamastectomybras.com/). thanks!

    • profile image

      Vidula 

      6 years ago

      Thank you Susan for your reply

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Vidula, I am not really sure how many lymph nodes were removed. After the first mastectomy my upper arm was numb to touch but has lessened over the years. With my second mastectomy I did not get that same numbness. I can see your concern about developing lymphedema and wish I could be of more help to you.

    • profile image

      Vidula 

      6 years ago

      Hi Susan,

      Thank You for your reply. I hope you do not mind me asking how many lymph nodes were removed from your arms . I am always fearful of developing lymphedema given that most of my lymph nodes were removed.

      Thank you Susan

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Vidula, Both of my arms are fine and sorry but I am not sure what you mean by your question.

    • profile image

      Vidula 

      6 years ago

      Hi Susan,

      I have just finished treatment for breast cancer. 17 of my lymph nodes were removed. I had mastectomy and immediate diep flap reconstruction. I am extremely worried about developing lymphedema. How have you managed to take care of your arm all these years ?

      Thanks

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 

      7 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Thank you.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Golfgal sorry to hear that your mother is not happy with her decision. One of my reasons for not having the reconstruction was that I just did not want to have any more surgery. I hope that everything turns out well for her.

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 

      7 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Thank you, I forwarded your story onto my mother via email as she is a breast cancer survivor 1.5 years. She did opt for the recontruction and wishes that she had not with all the additional recovery she has had to endure with several more surgeries.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Another great hub, my friend. I learn much from you. Thanks for share with us. Take care!

      Love and peace, prasetio

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      WillStarr and DzyMsLizzy thanks for reading and thank you for your comments.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      7 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I salute you on your courage in coming forward with this story of your experience. It is so very personal, and something each of us needs to be aware of, even if it is not our own experience.

      The more mainstream the awareness goes, the less 'touchy' of a subject it will become.

      Voted up and useful!

      (P.S. @ WillStarr--men can also get breast cancer.)

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I too am a cancer survivor. For women it's breasts and for men it's the prostate. They both have their survival complications, I suppose.

      Courageous Hub. Voted up and awesome.

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