This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.
Question: My wife is currently taking chemo for breast cancer and will be done in March. Then she will have a double mastectomy. Will she have her reconstruction at the same time or will she have to wait until after radiation. We are hoping for it to all be done at one time. What is the best recommendation? We are look for her best options and best doctors we live in North Carolina. Thanks.
Answer: The questions you have are very good questions but I feel they should be directed to her breast doctors (surgeon, oncologists). As a plastic surgeon I rebuild the breasts after the mastectomy and do not perform the cancer surgery or other treatments.
Because my expertise is in breast reconstruction I work closely with the breast surgeons and oncologists in the treatment of my patients but defer the questions about the cancer treatments to them. In general the treatment of breast cancer requires removing the cancer from the body and breast (mastectomy) and the chemotherapy and hormonal manipulation addresses the possible spread of cancer from the breast to elsewhere.
The radiation is used to help treat the breast after the cancer has been removed and is necessary to keep the cancer from returning in the breast after surgery has been performed to remove the cancer. Chemo therapy and hormone treatment/blocking can shrink breast cancer but in my non expert knowledge the chemo cannot completely treat the cancer without it being removed with surgery. I hope I have helped point you in the right direction to get your questions answered.
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