31 Days of “Little Known” FACTS — For Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Day 10 — UNACCEPTABLE Rates of Failed Surgeries & When to Say “NO MORE”

Did you know…

failThe percentage of women who need a 2nd or 3rd surgery after a lumpectomy, (also called breast conserving surgery (BCS) or partial mastectomy) is alarmingly high — especially for DCIS (stage ZERO breast cancer).  One study showed 48% to 59%.

I wrote The Insanity of DCIS Surgery after a 2nd surgery in Oct 2011.

A “close” margin of low-grade DCIS remained and I was told I needed a mastectomy.   My surgeon actually said:

“Your breast is like spoiled soup. It isn’t worth saving.”

The sad thing is, a great majority of woman in my shoes would have probably signed up right then for a mastectomy — or a double mastectomy (even though this offers NO SURVIVAL BENEFIT).

It’s a scary position to be in — with the highly confusing and alarming risk statistics — and I feel for any woman who has had to make this difficult decision.


My gut told me mastectomy was not right — nor were any of the other “standard of care” treatments. My nonstop research led me to a minority of experts more in alignment with my intuition, values and preferences.

So, despite serious pressures for mastectomy or “at least 3 weeks of radiation” and years of risk-reducing drugs, I said NO to all of it. I never went back to the surgeon — or any doctor — who used fear-based communication.

TIMEI did not “do nothing.”

I shifted my life focus from fear of cancer to intensive study of holistic health as a means of breast cancer risk-reduction. I even got certified as a nutritionist. Active Surveillance P L U S was my “treatment” of choice. P L U S stands for Proactive – Lifestyle – Understanding – Support

I created DCIS 411 to ensure women world-wide would hear there is another “less is more” perspective.

Donna’s Journey and the video below tell my story.  It’s now been 10 years.  Despite the scary statistics told to me, I have had no trace of anything suspicious in my breast — NO DCIS — and NO invasive cancer ever.

About Donna Pinto

I was born and raised in New Jersey and moved to the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles when I was 12. I graduated with a BA in Journalism/Advertising from San Diego State University. After a short stint in magazine ad sales in LA, I was offered my dream job working for Club Med. I spent two years working at resorts in Mexico, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic and Colorado. My husband Glenn & I met while working at Club Med in Ixtapa, Mexico. We returned to "real life/jobs" for three years before we embarked on a two year honeymoon around the world. Together we wrote a book called "When The Travel Bug Bites: Creative Ways to Earn, Save and Stay Abroad." I am also the author of "Cheatnotes on Life: Lessons From The Classroom of Life," a quote book for new graduates. Becoming a mom changed my life and I was fortunate to work part-time from home with many amazing nonprofits. In 2010, a DCIS diagnosis inspired me to an investigation that culminated in creating DCIS 411 and Give Wellness.
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3 Responses to 31 Days of “Little Known” FACTS — For Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Day 10 — UNACCEPTABLE Rates of Failed Surgeries & When to Say “NO MORE”

  1. Ann Galluzzo says:

    Hi Donna I know you say you have no trace of anything now did you ever you’ve also had four surgeries and was it all taken out did you ever have dcis


    • dp4peace says:

      My entire story is in “Donna’s Journey.” I had a needle biopsy (which I count as a surgical procedure) Oct 2009, then surgical (wide excision) biopsy in January 2010. Did NOTHING
      18 months later I had a highly suspicious mammogram and chose surgery over needle biopsy. Had two positive margins. Had a follow-up (re-excision) surgery 3 weeks later and that left a “close” margin. I was essentially left with the same statistics as before any surgeries. 35% recurrence risk at 10 years. I did dedicated breast MRI for the first 4 years, then SonoCine automated ultrasound the last 3 years. Just made my appointment for my annual exam with Dr. Kevin Kelly in Pasadena. I was told by several surgeons and oncologists and pathologists that there is likely more DCIS in there and it is not easily seen on mammogram and it is not marked by calcifications. So I needed to find a better more accurate imaging tool to make sure I did not have invasive cancer.


  2. Ann Galluzzo says:

    Thank You Donna I have low grade dcis I went for a stereotactic biopsy four years ago I was 66 then was told to go to a surgeon I went she told me not to worry and come back in six months I never went back I’m 70 now I suffer with acute anxiety and couldn’t do it that’s where I’m at Thank You for your story I wish you and everybody else good Health


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