Jamie's Blog

Friday, July 31, 2009

Is surgery an unkind cut?

A Canadian study found that women who had bilateral oophorectomy had almost a two-fold increase in risk of lung cancer compared to women who had normal menopause.

Let me get this right: we hack off parts of our bodies to prevent one cancer, which then triggers the disease someplace else? Many breast cancer survivors elect to remove their ovaries because of the statistical correlation between the two types of cancer. Having lost both breasts to cancer, I cling to the promise that I have zero risk of more breast cancer, but this research gives me pause. Do I sacrifice my ovaries or my lungs? Cancer really does suck.
To read the entire story about this research on the Caring4Cancer website, click here:
Bilateral Oophorectomy Increases Risk of Lung Cancer

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Facing mastectomy? For those who need help in a hurry. Look under Recommended Reading, Breast Reconstruction Guidebook http://tinyurl.com/yaa8s82

Friday, July 10, 2009

Elective mastectomy—what I wish my doctor had told me.

The diagnosis of breast cancer brings with it an avalanche of decisions, and one of the most difficult is whether or not to remove the unaffected breast. Our hope is that getting rid of the breast will protect us from recurrence, and with advancements in reconstruction, we can look forward to perky, cancer-free breasts. Good as new.


Not really.

No one cautioned me about the impact of nipple amputation on my sex life. No one even mentioned sexual function in any way. I know, it should be obvious that no nipple equals no pleasure. But such obvious things are exactly the kinds of things that don't occur to us when we are scared to death of dying.

When men have prostate cancer the top question they ask is, you guessed it, "Will I retain sexual function?" And a huge percentage of men opt for the less invasive, more risky, treatment in order to preserve quality of life. Why is sexual function not considered an important issue when choosing breast cancer treatment, particularly elective mastectomy?

It never occurred to me, and no one warned me. In all of my research I have never found a woman who was told about the cost of nipple amputation. Some women say, "I wouldn't miss it. I haven't felt my nipples since I breast fed." Others say, "It would be a devastating loss." The point is informed consent-- hear the pros and cons, and make the choice you can live with.

Of the dozens of women with whom I have spoken since my surgery, only one said that someone brought up this issue with her prior to surgery. That is unconscionable, so I make sure to explore the subject with women who contact me. I want to be part of the solution, not just complain about the problem.

I wish someone had done so for me.

For more information about surgical options visit this site~ http://www.sanfranciscodiep.com/reconstruction.html