Breast Cancer Reconstruction: Benefits, Risks, and Patient Support
Breast cancer can be a difficult diagnosis to receive, but it is important to know that you have options. One option many breast cancer patients consider is breast reconstruction surgery. The purpose of this surgery is to restore the shape of the breasts after a mastectomy. Before making a decision on whether or not to pursue breast reconstruction, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks associated with the procedure as well as what patient support is available.
Benefits of Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction surgery offers several benefits for those who choose it. For starters, there are psychological benefits associated with this type of surgery. After undergoing a mastectomy, many women report feeling less feminine and attractive due to their physical changes. Breast reconstruction can help restore body image and self-esteem, allowing some women to feel more positive about themselves once again. It can also help restore symmetry for those who have had one or both breasts removed during treatment for cancer.
According to Joel Aronowitz, MD, there are also practical benefits associated with breast reconstruction surgery such as improved clothing fit and fewer restrictions on physical activity that may have been imposed due to the loss of one or both breasts following mastectomy. Additionally, some women report improved comfort levels due to being able to wear bras or other supportive garments once again post-surgery.
Risks Associated With Reconstruction Surgery
As with any major medical procedure, there are risks associated with breast reconstruction surgery including infection and delayed healing time—which could lead to additional surgeries in order to correct issues like asymmetry or implant displacement caused by scar tissue buildup—as well as bruising around the affected area(s), risk of an adverse reaction from the anesthesia used during the procedure, discomfort during the recovery period and scarring due to invasive surgical techniques used in some cases (such as flap procedures).
Patient Support Available
Patient support covers everything from emotional and psychological support through counseling sessions prior/post-surgery as well as through organizations like Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) which provide information resources related to diagnosis/treatment along with access to peer groups who have gone through similar experiences, so that no one ever has to feel alone during this process. Also available are financial assistance programs offered by organizations like Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) which provide complimentary makeup kits designed specifically for those undergoing radiation/chemotherapy treatment so they can still look their best even when their bodies aren’t feeling their best.
As you can see, there are many considerations when it comes to deciding whether or not breast reconstruction is right for you following a mastectomy due to cancer diagnosis/treatment. It’s important that you weigh all possible risks versus potential benefits before making your decision – because ultimately, only you know what’s best for you!