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National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day Helps Women Understand Options Available for Reconstruction

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

October is breast cancer awareness month so it stands to reason that there is a special day within the month focused on reconstruction. Today, October 16th is that day. As a breast cancer survivor I know there is so much to think about, and honestly reconstruction was the last thing on my list of worries. Making sure I was cancer free was my initial focus then came the time to think about reconstruction and there are many options available. That’s what BRA day is all about; making women aware of the options available.

There are many procedures available and it’s up to you to find what will work best for you. Some are more involved, so are more expensive, some might not work as well if you’ve had radiation, some have longer recovery times than others…there are many factors to think about.

Many women don’t understand all the options that are available when it comes to reconstruction because, unfortunately, some doctors don’t discuss this with their patients. I was lucky, I had very good doctors that did explain my options but I also educated myself and asked many questions. I still do! However, only about a quarter of women are informed of their reconstruction options.

I was wanting the flap procedure of which there are a number DIEP, TRAM, SIEA GAP or TUG among them. Where they use your own body tissues to rebuild the breast, but the more I found out about it realized it wasn’t the best option for me. I decided to go with silicone implants (saline also available) in the end. My final surgery is coming up next month. Dr. Bennett of Image Sculptors, here in Abilene, went over all the options with me even though she knew I had already made my decision. We talked about the risks, long term effects, future surgeries, finances, down time and more. She made sure I was positively sure about my decision before we went forward. Many doctors don’t do that, unfortunately.

This day is to bring women awareness and discussion of those options available. I wish every woman was as lucky as I have been with my doctors and surgeons. From Dr. Walker, who performed by double mastectomy; to Dr. Kalla, my oncologist; to Dr. Bennett my plastic surgeon. They made this a much easier process for me and have made me feel whole again.

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