One of my patients recently told me that she wished she had been given the opportunity to discuss immediate breast reconstruction when she was given her breast cancer diagnosis five years ago. I wonder how many more women like her are out there in this same situation.
Understandably, her focus was on beating the cancer at that time, but now that she is down the line, she is considering a reconstruction. Her body image has suffered significantly since her mastectomy, but it didn’t necessarily have to be this way.
My message is simple: it is totally ok to discuss what your body will look and feel like after undergoing breast cancer surgery. Immediate breast reconstruction is not for everyone, but understanding your options and making informed choices about each step in the response to breast cancer, can help with moving on.
In recent months I’ve proudly joined the team at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. This wonderful integrated centre offers everything a cancer patient needs in one place.
I believe that a strong collaborative relationship between the entire clinical team is critical for a successful patient outcome. In particular I’ve been offering combined consultations with A/Prof Sanjay Warrier, enabling patients to discuss their options for reconstruction in conjunction with their cancer management, rather than as an afterthought.
I’m committed to providing patients with options that are not just up-to-date, but are at the leading edge of surgical practice. I sincerely hope that every woman given a breast cancer diagnosis these days is actively engaged by their clinical team in discussing not only their initial treatment, but also the range of reconstruction options available to them.
The Australian Government’s Cancer Australia Statement provides some great insights into 12 practices that are considered best practice in breast cancer. Practice 11 emphasises how important it is for a patient to receive information about reconstruction options when considering a mastectomy.
Don’t hesitate to contact my office to find out more.