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November 07 2013

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Some Things to Consider About Breast Reconstruction After Cancer Surgery

In 1998, then diep flap breast reconstruction President Bill Clinton signed into the law the Women's Health and Cancer Reconstruction Act (WHCRA). The aim of this bill was to ensure than patients who underwent mastectomy for the treating of breast cancer can gain access to reconstruction through their insurance plans.

Previously, many insurances did not cover reconstruction after breast cancer surgery because it was considered 'cosmetic' surgery. Many patients thought this also, and consequently, avoided undergoing reconstruction. As of 2012 the National Cancer Institute reports that only about 20% of breast cancer patients receive reconstruction, even though the law was supposed to rectify that situation.

Why is that? The causes are complex, and involve a mixture of things.

When a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, it is often stressful and emotional, as anyone might expect, and quite often the foremost concern is removing the cancer-not how they can look afterwards, that i understand. Treatment of cancer dominates the practical method of cancer, and rightly so. Without a cure, there is no reconstruction.

As a result, reconstruction is generally regarded as a 'secondary' procedure and not part of the 'primary' aim of treatment, which is, of course, curing the cancer. So, even in spite of a government mandate that provides insurance coverage for the process of breast reconstruction, this is apparently not enough to influence the practical approach both patients and doctors.

However I argue, having performed many breast reconstructions, that portion of the cure also entails creating a patient feel whole again, as well as for many women (however, not all) this entails reconstruction, or at best the ability to pursue it, in that case desired.

A 20% reconstruction rate suggests that breast reconstruction after cancer surgery is not always given the place it really deserves in the treatment of cancer because it is still consideredoptional and secondary, or not that critical to consider initially.

But to be fair, there are also other considerations as well, which are important, the most important being is that often breast cancer reconstruction involves as heavy commitment of time, and often multiple surgeries to achieve its results. This is not everything that appealing to anyone who has gone through the anxiety and worry of cancer surgery then a training course of chemotherapy or radiation, which can be understandable. All things considered, who wishes to go through a time consuming and stressful process soon after they have got experienced a time consuming and stressful process?

And finally, there is certainly, whether people prefer to admit or not, a sense that breast reconstruction is kind of a 'vain' undertaking. Beating cancer takes courage, and element of courage is thankfulness and humility, which seem at odd with wanting to make yourself look better.

It is a real phenomena which I have observed personally in my practice, though i don't agree with this perception. Consider it for a moment. Imagine you are a young woman, and perhaps you have children, and you will have just survived and fought through cancer of the breast. Your perspective on what is really important may change as a result of the experience you just had, and now, the investment of time and effort that is necessary to have a reconstructed breast in order to make yourself feel and look better may not be as important to you as spending time with your loved ones. If you are an older woman, you may think something along the lines of, likewise: what can I would like a breast later within my life?

But undergoing reconstruction of the breast after cancer surgery is not really a vain or self-centered pursuit in whatever way. Once again, beating cancer takes great courage, and thankfulness, indeed and humility are integral parts of courage, but so are feeling confident, whole, and strong, which breast cancer reconstruction can help provide for many patients.

That being said, ultimately what is most important is actually a patient's wishes, and yes, sometimes delaying or forgoing breast cancer reconstruction altogether is the greatest step that can be taken for a number of the reasons i have previously mentioned (ie stress, family, time commitment, etc.)

Still, a 20% rate diep flap breast reconstruction of breast reconstruction is awfully low, and it suggests something more to me than people don't want breast cancer reconstruction because they are too tired after cancer treatment or think that the process is somewhat vain. If you have no intention of every undergoing breast reconstruction, you should talk the time to inform and educate yourself about the option in detail through a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon, it suggests a lack of information, and it is an important reason why I believe that even.

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