“We found a lump.” Four of the scariest words a woman can hear. Whether a lump is discovered during a monthly self-exam, during a mammogram, or at a doctor’s visit, it can be very daunting, to say the least. Give yourself a chance to process the words, then educate yourself.
You are the only one living in your body. As such, you have to advocate for your own health. But how can you advocate for yourself if you don’t understand exactly what’s going on in your body or what your options are? Read on for some plain English.
Lump means “cancer,” right?
Not necessarily. Not every lump is cancerous. Some are malignant (cancer) and some are benign (not cancer). And, in the medical world, the term “negative” is actually a good thing. It means the lump is negative for the presence of cancer. However, even benign lumps or tumors need to be addressed. They may have the ability to become cancerous or grow and affect other organs.
More comfortable with a second opinion? Go for it!
Even if you trust your physician completely, it’s okay to get a second opinion. And, no, your doctor will not be offended. After all, it’s your body. Getting a second opinion to confirm a diagnosis will help you feel at ease and more comfortable about your treatment options.
Do they have to remove the whole breast?
Maybe. But maybe not. A mastectomy is the removal of an entire breast. A double or bilateral mastectomy removes both breasts. But that may not be the only option. Breast-conserving surgeries (BCS) are intended to remove a mass (benign or malignant) from the breast, along with a clean margin (border) of breast tissue and possibly nearby lymph nodes. This allows a radiologist to determine if cancer has possibly spread. A BCS, also known as a lumpectomy, saves as much natural breast tissue as safely possible. A lumpectomy usually has a shorter recovery time than a total mastectomy, can preserve sensation, and may save at least some of the natural shape.
Your medical team can best advise you as to the right course of treatment, including which surgery will give you the best results and if further treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy is right for you. Be an informed ally with your doctors and work with them to fight like a girl!
Here When You’re Ready
No matter what treatment options you choose, you are not alone. When you are ready, Pretty in Pink Boutique proudly offers lumpectomy shapers, mastectomy garments (including swimsuits!), and head coverings such as hats and turbans. In addition to the clothing and prosthetics, we offer caring and compassionate support for every stage of your journey, pre-and post-surgery. We help you maintain your life, your beauty, and your dignity.