Breast reconstruction options

For many cancer patients undergoing mastectomies, reconstructive breast surgery can seem like a first step to reclaiming their bodies. An article which appeared last December in the New York Times states that “Even as promising new operations are gaining traction at academic medical centers, plastic surgeons often fail to tell patients about them.” The article goes on to report that ” only one third of women undergoing operations for breast cancer said their general surgeons had discussed reconstruction at all, according to a study published in the journal Cancer.

Having not undergone breast reconstruction myself, I cannot comment on what the situation is like in Ireland, so I would be very interested to hear of the experiences women have had here.

I was struck by a piece in the article which said that patients should not necessarily accept the first thing they hear as the end-all, because that is not necessarily the full story and once again highlights for me the importance of patient empowerment. Equally, the article illustrated the support and often new and valuable information above and beyond what women are hearing from their surgeons, available on cancer support websites.

 Although women “don’t choose their diagnosis, they can choose to go ahead with reconstruction or not, and with the aid of a knowledgeable plastic surgeon they can choose what their options might be…Then they have that much more power over their lives if they have that power to choose.”

You can read the article in full here.