Breast Cancer: Knowledge is Power Part 1

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight US women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.  We are posting this multi-part series and the new posts will address the choices women have for the treatment and reconstruction of breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US. Many women are understandably distraught by the news they have breast cancer and feel a sense of urgency to make important decisions regarding their care. Surgery to treat breast cancer can have a significant impact on quality of life and yet many women feel pressured to make these decisions. Overcoming breast cancer is a journey and a very individual one that involves choices about the type of breast surgery, the need for additional treatments (chemotherapy or radiation) and options for breast reconstruction. Research has found that breast reconstruction contributes to a woman’s self-esteem and sense of wellbeing; however, over 70% of women eligible for breast reconstruction are not told about all of their options.

Knowledge is power. As a plastic surgeon, it is our role to make sure my patient knows and understands all of her reconstructive options before her cancer is treated and removed. Every woman diagnosed with breast cancer should seek a referral to a plastic surgeon. Ultimately, knowledge is power and breast reconstruction is about choosing the option that will give you the best possible quality of life. Each person is driven by different motives and sensitivities, personally unique to their own individual circumstances.

Next time: Take Time to Make the Right Decisions Part 2

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