Each October October are bombarded with breast cancer awareness campaigns, resulting in significant strides in earlier breast cancer detection. However, studies have shown that women facing breast cancer surgery are not always made aware of all their options. There has been little focus on awareness of surgical options and the breastfeeding reconstruction process. This might seem improbable, but I'm living proof that there is a gap in knowledge about surgical options.
When women are panicking from a breast cancer diagnosis, most will not spend time researching options. Since surgical techniques vary by hospital, it becomes more critical for proactive education. Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day) was created to address the educational gap. On Wednesday October 15, 2014 the third annual BRA Day will take place.
In regards to surgical options, lumpectomy is the least invasive option and it's a very common technique. In this technique, only the tumor is removed and as much remaining breast tissue as possible is left intact. However, depending on the tumor size and location, removal of the cancer might leave a noticeably deformed breast.
If more intensive surgery is required, the entire breast is removed, known as mastectomy. In this case, there then becomes a choice of whether the patient wants to remain without a breast or desires a new one to be created. Building a new breast is known as reconstruction and is performed by a Plastic Surgeon working in conjunction with the Breast Surgeon, who extracts the cancer. The procedures might be able to be completed during the same surgery or reconstruction may require an additional surgery later.
In the event that the patient chooses reconstitution after her mastectomy she may have multiple options in an ever-evolving process, thanks to our donation dollars and continued medical research.
The traditional reconstruction method entailed placing an expander under the skin during the mastectomy surgery. The expander is essentially an empty balloon. After the patient has recuperated from her surgery, the doctor will gradually inflate the balloon over several sessions, until the skin has been stretched out to the desired size, at which time the expander will be replaced with an implant or other body tissue during a second surgery. A nipple can be added later, using flesh or a 3-D illusion tattoo, along with a tattooed areola, if desired. It can be a lengthy process. Even with the extended time and effort required, this option is still worthwhile for many women.
Further evolution of reconstructive surgery led to the "skin-sparing" mastectomy. In this case, the nipple and areola are removed, but the remaining skin is left intact. The internal breast tissue is removed and the cavity is filled with body tissue from another area or an implant or an inflated expander during the initial surgery. The patient would have a breast immediately, however, without a nipple or areola – both of which can be added later, if desired. If an expander is used, it will have to be swapped out with an implant or other body tissue later.
Nipple-sparing mastectomy, NSM, is currently the most technically advanced reconstruction option. In this case, the outer outer shell of the breast is left intact and only the internal breast tissue is removed. The remaining void is filled directly with body tissue or an implant or an inflated expander during the initial surgery. The result is similar to the skin-sparing mastectomy, but it's a more aesthetically pleasing outcome as the original nipple and areola are left intact.
All surgery options will not be offered at every hospital. In addition, not everyone is eligible for every surgical option. However, understanding the options that exist will allow a woman to make the most informed surgical choice should the need ever arise.
I created a Breast Cancer Surgery Options video that shows examples of these options and is certain to leave a lasting impression. Spending eleven minutes to become educated may make a huge difference for someone you love. Please watch and share. http://youtu.be/dhRnZVPodxY[ad_2]