"Only a third of patients with breast cancer get to discuss their breast reconstruction options with their general cancer surgeon before the tumor is removed," claim researchers in a University of Michigan study described in HeathDay News.
Clinical scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Care Center interviewed 1,178 women recently diagnosed with breast cancer to see if reconstruction was suggested as an option to them.
It appears that many women are making choices about their breast cancer treatment and surgery without being aware of all the options that are available to them. Breast reconstruction can be done immediately after a mastectomy when it offers "a better cosmetic outcome and is psychologically better," according the Dr. Amy K. Alderman, assistant professor of plastic surgery and lead author on the study.
In an earlier report by the same group, they found that fewer than 20 percent of American women eligible for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy opt for the procedure, even if they have the insurance to cover it.
While reconstruction does not alter a woman’s prognosis from breast cancer, "we know that women who undergo breast reconstruction gain large improvements in their emotional, social and functional well-being," claims Dr. Alderman.
Doheny, K., 2007. "Breast Cancer Surgeons Don’t Discuss Reconstruction Options," HealthDay News http://www.meritcare.com/news/world/viewarticle.aspx?id=611072
Hopkins, K., 2007. "Few Eligible Women Opt to Rebuild Breast After Removal for Breast Cancer, Despite Insurance Coverage," University of Michigan press release.
Breastcancer.org website’s guidelines and information on breast reconstruction:
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