Come October, it seems like the world is draped in a veil of bubble gum pink, a hue that signals the arrival of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And while the entirety of the month is extra-important for fundraising and improving general awareness, BRA Day, otherwise known as Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, on October 21st highlights the importance of breast reconstruction after mastectomy.
Started by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, BRA Day was created to raise awareness about the different types of breast reconstruction options for women who have or are going to have a mastectomy. According to both physicians and survivors, breast reconstruction is important for both the physical and the emotional rehabilitation of breast cancer patients. Joseph M. Serletti, MD, FACS, Chief of Plastic Surgery at Penn Medicine, explains:
“There’s the diagnosis of cancer, and then there is the incredibly traumatic thought of having to lose a breast. And that has both [a] physical component and obviously a very strong emotional component. If we can get the patient through her treatment of breast cancer and at the same time reconstruct her breast, it will have a very, very profound effect on her overall recovery.”
The specialists at Penn Medicine offer patients comprehensive breast cancer care services, with breast reconstruction being among them. Breast reconstruction is covered by insurance and is performed to recreate the shape and appearance of a woman’s breast. There are different options for reconstruction including: saline-filled implants, silicone-filled implants and autologous tissue reconstruction. (A physician can recommend the best one for you.) Plus at Penn Medicine, patients can undergo nipple-areolar reconstruction, which includes nipple tattooing performed by a micropigmentation specialist in plastic surgery. This will make the reconstructed breast look even more realistic.
A woman’s journey with breast cancer can be extremely difficult. And if there’s a way to aid this journey and improve feelings of normalcy or sense of self, it’s essential that the option for breast reconstruction is both known and communicated.