More background material ….
While more women are having preventative double mastectomies when they find they have defective BRAC1 or BRAC2 genes, the reason for my mastectomies is different. I do not have either of these gene faults.
I have been diagnosed with LCIS (or lobular carcinoma in situ, also known as lobular neoplasia) in a routine annual breast check. Following the discovery of abnormal breast cells in my mammogram last September and then again (with further changes) in February this year, I then had a core needle biopsy and this is when the LCIS was discovered.
In lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), cells that look like cancer cells are growing in the lobules of the milk-producing glands of the breast, but they do not grow through the wall of the lobules. Women with this condition have a 7 to 11 times higher risk of developing invasive cancer in either breast. LCIS is classified as stage 0, or non invasive breast cancer. Due to improvements in breast cancer screening, the diagnosis of LCIS is increasing.
On its own, LCIS means there is a higher risk for breast cancer and close monitoring is generally prescribed. While having LCIS increases the chances of someday having breast cancer, most women with LCIS do not develop breast cancer. However, each woman’s circumstance is different, and with the diagnosis of LCIS, combined with my family experience and personal history, it has been calculated that I am now over 85% likely to develop invasive breast cancer in my lifetime. Following close consultations with my doctors, I have decided that a preventative double mastectomy is the best course of action for me.
I was also diagnosed with “flat epithelial atypia”. This is not cancer but can be found alongside or before other cancerous conditions. From google: “Observational studies have suggested that at least some of these lesions may represent either a precursor of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or the earliest morphological manifestation of DCIS. In contrast, the limited available clinical follow-up data suggest that the risk of both local recurrence and progression of these lesions to invasive cancer is extremely low, supporting the notion that categorizing such lesions as ‘clinging carcinoma’ and managing them as if they were fully developed DCIS will result in overtreatment of many patients.” So this is not cancer, but again, it doesn’t have a good vibe about it!
This is a diagram of where the LCIS appears in a woman’s breast. In my double mastectomy, the surgeons will be removing all ducts, lobules and fatty tissue. The reconstruction will then fill this space with my abdominal tissue in a DIEP transplant procedure.