When you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you are given so much information to digest about your diagnosis and treatment it can, at times, be overwhelming. But it’s not over yet. What about the information you need to decide if you’re going to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy or lumpectomy? Unfortunately, not every woman is given all of their options in order to make this very important decision.
To help change this, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) have designated October 16 as the eighth annual BRADay – Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day in hopes to build awareness around breast reconstruction options. According to http://www.breastreconusa.org, less than a quarter (23 percent) of women know all of the breast reconstruction options that are available to them after mastectomy.
“Thanks to the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA), almost every woman is legally entitled to have breast reconstruction after mastectomy,” said Richard M Kline Jr., MD of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction. “Once you are aware of that, you should then understand what your all of your reconstruction options are, including implant based reconstruction, DIEP Flap, GAP Flap, and Profunda Artery
Perforator (PAP) Flap. Each procedure has its advantages and disadvantages so weigh them carefully.”
Once you are given your options for breast reconstruction, you need to decide which one is best for you and you will probably have a ton of questions. Make certain that you are consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon who is willing to answer all of them and share photos of post-operative results. The more informed you are with the answers you receive, the more comfortable you will be with your final decision.
All women who are candidates for breast reconstruction should receive treatment in a safe and timely manner. Remember that this is your breast cancer journey and you should do what’s right for you. Keep in mind that only 19 percent of women understand that the timing of your treatment for breast cancer and the timing of the decision to undergo reconstruction greatly impacts their options and results.
For more information on Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, visit breastreconusa.org.