The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 264,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2021. Breast reconstruction is an aspect of breast cancer treatment that is associated with an improved quality of life. In addition to reconstruction after necessary mastectomy, surgeons are now finding that some women elect to have a mastectomy due to a strong family history or positive BRCA gene. In these instances, too, reconstructive surgery can prove beneficial. For breast reconstruction to achieve its potential, it is necessary to address some misconceptions. We’ll do that here.
Myth #1: Breast reconstruction can contribute to a recurrence of cancer or late detection of cancer.
Several factors influence a woman’s risk of breast cancer recurrence. Reconstruction is a small one. An experienced plastic surgeon with extensive familiarity with breast reconstruction takes all risk factors into account when planning how to rebuild the breasts. Furthermore, numerous studies have been conducted over the years and most have found no evidence of breast cancer recurrence related to the reconstruction procedure. If you are concerned about future breast cancer detection, talk to a breast reconstruction specialist. After a thoughtful discussion, you should feel much more confident about the options that are suggested for you.
Myth #2: Breast reconstruction is expensive.
We can see how this misconception could hold a woman back from reclaiming her figure after breast cancer treatment. That’s why it must be busted. Since 1998, after Congress passed the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, the cost of breast reconstruction has been a baseline benefit for breast cancer patients. Not only does this act require group and individual health policies that cover mastectomy to also cover the cost of reconstruction of the affected breast, but it also applies to the non-affected breast, so that symmetry is achieved.
Myth #3: Radiation or chemotherapy will prevent me from having breast reconstruction.
Having radiation and/or chemotherapy may affect some aspects of breast reconstruction, such as the timing or type of surgery performed. However, doctors do not rule out reconstructive procedures based on the inclusion of either of these therapies in breast cancer treatment.
As renowned breast reconstruction surgeons, Dr. Schierle and Dr. Fine understand that women diagnosed with breast cancer have numerous crucial decisions to make. Comprehensive, accurate information is vital to emotional and physical recovery. Our patients can expect to receive a thorough consultation that explores all viable options based on risks, needs, and preferences. To learn more about breast reconstruction, call our Chicago office at (312) 266-6240.