I am 25 years old. Needing a double mastectomy. Do I have any other options?

i am 25 years old. i have been suffering with fibro cystic breast disease for almost 10 years. documented thru medical records i have had cancer scares. lymph nodes removed and some breast tissue removed. my doctor believes that i require a bi lateral mastectomy. i was on hormones which caused kidney and liver failure which i was hospitalized for. my insurance wont cover till January, i have tried everything eastern and western medicine, do i have any other options ?

Doctor Answers 3

Fibrocystic disease

I am so sorry you have had such suffering with your breasts. Fibrocystic disease is common and generally does not require surgical intervention. Cyst aspiration, and stabilization with Vit E, oil of primrose, green tea and black Cohash as well as avoiding caffeine and wearing supportive bras improves symptoms for most people. Women who have such severe disease that they require multiple biopsies and have debilitating pain, however may find relief in the more aggressive approach of mastectomy or Hormone therapy.  Danazol is similar to testosterone and blocks some of the hormone from ovaries that can worsen breast pain and can dramatically improve a woman's fibrocystic symptoms but it comes at a cost. The side effects of the drug include blood clots, brain swelling (rare) and birth defects - women must be on birth control while taking the drug. If the fibrocystic disease is localized at all - perhaps in the outer quadrant of the breast, partial mastectomy may help. If all other options have either failed or are rejected as too risky, mastectomy can be a excellent option. Our reconstruction techniques are great, and an experienced breast surgeon can remove the breast tissue and leave healthy breast skin and nipples. Incisions under the breast result in a invisible scars and a natural, beautiful result. The risk of breast cancer is dramatically reduced as well. However, it is surgery and complications can occur, revision surgery may be needed and sensation in the nipple and skin is altered. Good luck and take care.

Plagued by fibrocystic breast disease?

I would like to know more about your symptoms that have prompted multiple investigations and biopsies thus far....Have you been diagnoses with many fluid filled cysts? Are these areas solid? Have you had growths in the breast tissue? or is it just generally lumpy and uneven? Are there specific painful areas, or just general pain, or are you not having pain? Are you suffering because of the sense of alarm and worry this is all causing, or because your breast tissue is causing you actual discomfort? Fibrocystic disease is a catch all term for the dynamic changes healthy breast tissue can go through. It grows and dies repeatedly in response to cycles, hormones, pregnancies, and general stress. It takes on fluid and swells at times, it "dries up" and softens up at times. Supportive tissue overgrows unnecessarily sometimes creating toughness, lumps and areas that look "funny" on imaging studies. This happens to all women (and some men!), but to varying degrees. Just like acne, some people get a face full of painful pimples and boils, while some people just get a spot every now and again. Those on the most severe end of the schedule need help to manage it, much like those with severe uneven, lumpy, painful breast tissue. I have worked with thousands of women over more than a dozen years and there are a variety of very helpful simple things that can relieve and improve many of these symptoms - but it depends on what the problems are, what you've already tried, and where you fit on the spectrum. You would probably think a doctor was crazy if he or she suggested treating bad acne by removing the skin on your face and replacing it with a skin graft.  This is a little bit different, but still, mastectomy is the very last thing we consider. I have had many happy patients who were miserable before they cam to see u,  but felt much better after conservative measures, nutrition and diet changes, and education on expectations.

Options limited with your health history

and you can choose not to do anything and continue as is or have the procedure and reconstruction if you want knowing that reconstructed mounds are never like your natural breasts and have a laundry list of problems as well.  Why was your evaluation so aggressive when so young and risks so low for cancer?  And if you're wanting children and to experience breast feeding, you should get that off your bucket list before having the mastectomies.  If you have some genetic problem that makes your risks for breast cancer very high, then mastectomy is your only real option.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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