As Breast Cancer Awareness month comes to a close with the final days of October, we carry with us a greater understanding of how this cancer touches so many lives and steps we can take to help prevent and better treat this disease.
Survivors of breast cancer face many challenges in the months and years following treatment, one of which is the question of breast reconstruction surgery. How each persons feels following a lumpectomy or mastectomy is highly individual. There is no wrong way to look at reconstruction; some feel comfortable using a prosthetic which can be removed, avoiding the need for further surgery. Others feels reconstruction will help them feel more like themselves.
But before making the decision to have breast reconstruction it is important to carefully weigh all the options, talk with a qualified plastic surgeon and fully understand the limitations of reconstruction.
A recent study found that about 56 per cent of women have reconstruction after a mastectomy, according to breastcancer.org, leaving a significant number of women who choose to use prosthetics or “go flat”; electing to live breast-free. The choice is very personal, based on feelings about sexuality, appearance, activity, self-image and taking into consideration ongoing medical or financial issues.
Fortunately, because of campaigns designed to raise awareness and create communities of support, men and women can access a wealth of information to help make informed decisions. For more information about breast reconstruction options including prosthetics, implants and other surgeries, visit the Canadian Collaboration on Breast Reconstruction or check out Bra Day (Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day) events near you; check online at http://www.bra-day.com for a more information.