Mastectomy is the only option for many women after breast cancer. But generally, mastectomy involves single mastectomy SMX or double mastectomy DMX. Choosing between single (unilateral) mastectomy and double (bilateral) mastectomy is challenging for women.
The major concerns for many women are anxiety about lifelong monitoring, the risk of another cancer, decreased sensation, and unappealing physical appearance. Even financial, social, emotional, and other issues also make the choice difficult.
However, the final decision to go for single or double mastectomy depends on a patient’s condition, stage of cancer, and personal preference. Also, the doctor and insurance drive this decision as well.
For women with breast cancer in just one breast, the single or unilateral mastectomy SMX is the best option. It involves the removal of one breast. On the other hand, double (or bilateral) mastectomy involves the removal of both breasts. In medical terms, a double mastectomy is the removal of both breast to treat cancer. This procedure further merges a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy for non-cancerous breasts.
The risks associated with double mastectomy are more than single mastectomy. So, consider the risks of double, as well as single mastectomy, before making the decision. The surgical procedures are the same for both mastectomies. However, in some occasions, there is no need for lymph node dissection or sentinel node biopsy on non-cancerous breast in the unilateral procedure. Hence, the recovery is easier.
Some factors that may impact your choice of single mastectomy or double mastectomy depend on the given factors:
Medical professionals observed mixed results on people choosing single vs double mastectomy DMX. Some showed little benefit, while some observed improvement with a double mastectomy. However, the improvement and higher survival rate impact the decision-making. People at higher risk of developing second breast cancer are likely to go for a double mastectomy.
People undergoing double mastectomy are also likely to go for breast reconstruction. So, it is another vital variable that makes double mastectomy a good choice. However, you need to note that one’s survival does not mean that a person cannot have a second cancer. But, double mastectomy does reduce the chances of developing a second cancer. Nonetheless, is it worth taking the risk to undergo extra surgery?
Generally, insurance can cover a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgeries. But there are certain cost differences between single and double mastectomy.
Typically, the cost of double mastectomy is more than single mastectomy SMX. However, women who undergo a single mastectomy have to undergo lifelong screening for breast cancer on the second breast. And, the cost of screening will add up over time, not to mention the emotional worry.
Studies have mixed reviews on cost-effectiveness. As per one study, single mastectomy and screening are lower priced than a double mastectomy which may cost up to $5,000 or more. Usually, the breast reconstruction follows a double mastectomy, reconstruction being an extra expense.
One more study states that double mastectomy is less costly compared to screening and single mastectomy.
To avoid confusion, it is best to consult a breast cancer surgeon in your area and find out the cost. Nonetheless, we live in a time where an individual’s personal preference and quality of life is more vital than money.
Feeling completely better could take four to six weeks. You need three weeks or more for the incision to heal. Initial chest, arm, and shoulder discomfort, as well as fatigue, soreness, and stiffness, are possible. Most people can handle their discomfort with over-the-counter painkillers, and exercise that helps to reduce stiffness. Specific exercises to perform will be recommended to you by your healthcare provider to aid in your recuperation. You’ll be informed when it’s safe to perform tougher task.
The portion of your body that heals the slowest is your nerves, and you can experience a range of feelings. You may have brief twinges, pain, or phantom feelings following surgery, but most individuals report feeling numb across their chest.
Your breast cancer journey may or may not finish with surgery, but it will probably play a significant role in how you are treated and can provide a great deal of relief. And while losing your breasts might be emotionally taxing, many people are very happy with the outcomes of their breast reconstruction. You have access to a wide range of cosmetic treatments to help you feel confident in your newly rebuilt, cancer-free breasts. You also have the option of breast prosthesis if you choose not to do rreconstruction.
Various supplementary wellness programs might help you recover your quality of life after a mastectomy. Therapists or support groups also address your mental and physical wellbeing. Meanwhile, they work on restoring your physical range of motion through physical rehabilitation techniques. Additionally, you could refer to alternative treatments like yoga, meditation, massage, etc.
There are many aspects to take into account while deciding between a single and double mastectomy. So where do you even begin?
Reducing the risk of second primary breast cancer is the first step and main objective of a double mastectomy. It’s crucial to have a thorough discussion about your specific risk factors with your healthcare provider. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
There are a few tools for estimating your risk of breast cancer, but none of them account for all the variables and subtleties that can affect your risk. The risk of surgery should then be compared to this risk.
There is no easy way to evaluate personal factors, notwithstanding their importance. While diminished feeling following a double mastectomy might be extremely uncomfortable for some people, screening after a single mastectomy can still create anxiety.
Decide what is best for you, you may face strong opinions from family, friends, and society. But you have to trust your medical team and other professional services, like Pink Ribbon Boutique, that supports you.
For breast cancer survivors, Pink Ribbon offers customized, professional, and discreet fittings. To exclusively serve ladies who have undergone any form of breast surgery, including a single or double mastectomy, we provide a full line of post-mastectomy bras and prosthetics.