How Will You Celebrate BRA Day?
What will my breasts look like after cancer surgery? Women facing breast cancer often worry about the impact their diagnosis will have on their physical appearance. In fact 89% of women surveyed in a recent study indicated that they wanted to see breast reconstruction results before their breast cancer surgeries. Helping women restore their confidence and battle their breast cancer diagnosis is an important part of the mission of National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day). Cancer may change the way your body looks, but you can still be beautiful.
What is BRA Day?
Women facing breast cancer have options, especially when it comes to reconstruction. There’s no set path or one size fits all reconstruction method. BRA Day is an annual event that seeks to educate and empower women. Only 23% of women understand the wide range of breast reconstruction options; the number should be 100%. BRA Day helps women to take control of their bodies before, during and after cancer making informed decisions about the type of reconstruction they would like to receive.
Breast Reconstruction Options
Women have many options available for breast reconstruction after breast cancer. Let’s take a quick look at two of the most popular.
Reconstruction with Implants
One option for breast reconstruction involves using either silicone or saline implants to recreate the breast mound. An expander is first placed under the skin and muscle. Since breast cancer surgery often removes a great deal of breast tissue and skin, an expander is used to stretch the remaining skin and muscle. The expanders are slowly filled (using saline injections) until the skin is sufficiently stretched to accommodate the implant. This process requires two surgeries (one for the expander and a second for the actual implant). In some cases reconstruction with an implant can be accomplished with a single surgery.
Implants are an effective choice for breast reconstruction. Generally implants must be replaced every 10 years. Over time the breast may harden as the body creates scar tissue around the foreign substance. Breasts with implants feel different than a natural breast and there is a risk of implant rupture.
Reconstruction Using Natural Tissues
Another option is reconstruction using the body’s own natural tissues. This is known as autologous breast reconstruction. Skin, fat and tissues from another area of the body (often the abdomen) are transplanted to the breast area.
Breast reconstruction using the body’s own tissues creates a more natural result. The breast is soft and natural feeling. The results last much longer than a breast implant (lifelong results) and typically only one surgery is needed. Plus since the body’s own tissues are used there is no risk of allergic reaction. The reconstructed breast will actually function like a part of the body changing size with weight gains and losses, etc. This type of breast reconstruction actually helped pioneer the technologies used in natural breast augmentation.
Whether or not you have breast cancer, spend some time on BRA Day to learn about breast reconstruction options. Help spread the message to women across the country that breast cancer survivors can still have beautiful breasts. Learn more about BRA Day 2013 here.