Friday, January 3, 2014

LUMPECTOMY - THE SEQUEL . . . Famous decisions--the other side of the story

I've read plenty about a surgeon and a film superstar and their double mastectomies. I know the surgeon had been diagnosed with breast cancer; we've all heard the superstar's reason.    I don't mean to downplay what they've gone through, but I also knew they could expect world-class care.  Now I read that their stories have started a clamor for voluntary double mastectomies.

I was thinking tonite (Thursday) about the dangers of what they have gone through, as well as the benefits.

And I have often thought before about why lumpectomy is simply called "breast preservation" or similar names.  To me, lumpectomy, when it's the standard of care, is the way to avoid an incredible amount of danger of infection, not to mention pain, dangers of major surgery, and lengthy, difficult convalescence.   I've shuddered at the stories:  frantic daughters of mastectomy patients tracking down nurses, and insisting, "Give Mom her shot.  Now!"   I'm glad I've been spared for now from being that suffering mom.

I had nothing to say with any authority about this question, so took a break, went to KevinMD, and lucked into an article by

Miranda Fielding is a radiation oncologist who blogs at The Crab Diaries.  

I clicked The Crab Diaries, and found her cautions on that very subject - possible reasons not to choose a double mastectomy and when or why not.  She is a wonderful storyteller and you may want to read.that January 2 post, Primum non Nocere..

My suspicions are confirmed, and there are even more reasons to think very, very carefully about voluntary double mastectomy for yourself or someone you love.

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