Breast reconstruction awareness day & breast cancer awareness month for October

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SIU Medicine joins other organizations and families around the country in celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month during October. We're doing our part to spread awareness about this leading type of cancer, including its signs and symptoms, how it's diagnosed and treated, and how you can prevent it.

An often overlooked aspect of breast cancer awareness is life after breast cancer surgery. Though a mastectomy can save a woman's life, it can also leave her reeling with unexpected emotions and challenges.

For this reason, SIU Medicine encourages our communities to honor another important date this year: October 21st is Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day). Keep reading to learn more.

What is breast reconstruction?

Breast reconstruction is a surgical process that recreates the look and shape of a woman's breasts. It is performed by a plastic surgeon and typically involves prosthetic implants and/or the woman's own tissues, including skin, fat and muscle. Women who have had one or both breasts removed or a part of a breast removed in their cancer treatment are ideal candidates for this surgical procedure. Federal law requires most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction.

At SIU Medicine, our breast reconstruction specialists and plastic surgeons work tirelessly with our patients to make sure they feel fully supported in whatever they decide to do following their mastectomies. Having the breasts reconstructed is a highly personal decision that needs to take several factors into consideration, including a woman's overall health, lifestyle and goals. We honor each patient's preferences and intuition while educating them about all the risks and benefits so they feel well informed and respected.

Honoring BRA day: 3 benefits of breast reconstruction for breast cancer survivors

October 21, 2020 is National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day—better known as BRA Day! To celebrate the day and raise awareness for these procedures among survivors and the public, here are three research-supported benefits of breast reconstruction:

  1. It boosts confidence and self-image. Far more than just a "boob job," breast reconstruction helps return a woman to her normal self, and can improve her mental and emotional well-being. The surgeries can also help a woman feel more comfortable with her intimate partner and support the health of her relationship.
  2. It eliminates common inconveniences. Many breast cancer survivors wear false breast forms, which can be uncomfortable or shift out of place. Since breast reconstruction restores a woman's chest to her liking, she can avoid the hassle and inconvenience of temporary prosthetics.
  3. It may promote a survival advantage. Studies have shown breast cancer surgery improves survival rates for women. Knowing she can have her breasts reconstructed may encourage a woman to undergo a mastectomy with greater peace of mind.

Are you a breast cancer survivor?

SIU Medicine care providers envision a time when there is no more stigma surrounding breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery. We believe all women deserve privacy, dignity and empowerment at every stage of their breast cancer journeys.

If you're a survivor and are interested in learning more about our breast reconstruction services, contact SIU Medicine at 217-545-8000 to schedule a consultation today.

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