I’m just getting started with my breast cancer research - what is my first step?
If you have breast cancer or think you might, you should schedule appointments with a cancer specialist and a breast reconstruction surgeon immediately. Only medical professionals experienced with the treatment of breast cancer and breast reconstruction surgery should be trusted as sources of information and advice. A second or even third opinion can also be invaluable in educating yourself about your options. You should feel fully confident in the information you’re receiving, your surgical options and your medical team at all times. If you do not, continue to get more information and additional consultations with other surgeons in a timely fashion.
How many different options are there for breast reconstruction?
Women have the option of immediate or delayed breast reconstruction, or to have no reconstruction at all. Within these two main reconstruction categories, women can still select from many options geared specifically towards their needs. Each breast reconstruction surgery is tailored to the individual anatomy and cosmetic preferences of the woman being treated, which makes these surgeries extremely versatile and effective for a wide variety of concerns. Consult with a qualified surgeon who has experience performing breast reconstruction surgery to determine the best course for your needs.
Immediate or delayed breast reconstruction — how do I decide?
If you choose to have a reconstruction, the choice between an immediate or delayed breast reconstruction surgery is a highly personal one but can be dictated by your current health. Your first step in making this decision will be to gather all the necessary information from your surgeons. This will include obtaining the pros and cons for each of the most medically sound options available to you as well as hearing your surgeon’s recommendation based on a full examination. These facts should help make your decision more clear, but you should also allow your feelings to influence your final choice. The option you choose should make the most sense as well as make you the most comfortable.
Is an implant breast reconstruction right for me?
Whether or not they anticipate it, most women will feel differently about their bodies in the absence of a breast mound. For some, their grief over losing this aspect of their femininity is a fact they can come to terms with in time; however, many women will prefer to restore their pre-mastectomy appearance as best as possible either immediately or soon after their mastectomy. The wide variety of breast reconstruction options and the flexibility of these procedures should give women great hope and confidence that they can overcome this challenge, look the way they want and live confidently again.
How can I make sure I choose a surgeon who will educate me about all of my options?
You can find a link to breast reconstruction surgeons qualified to perform these surgeries here. However, whether you find your surgeon through a recommendation from your primary care physician, specialist or through internet resources like, you will know if you have found the right surgeon if:
- They have the relevant qualifications
- They have a specialty in breast reconstruction
- They can demonstrate a history of successful surgeries
- They give you their time and focus during your consultation
- They explain all your options.
- They encourage you to ask questions during your consultation and make themselves available to answer questions after it
- They welcome and encourage you to seek a second or third opinion to ensure you make the right choice for yourself