A LOCAL breast cancer survivor who was part of the inaugural meeting of Wangaratta’s Reclaim Your Curves group has welcomed its establishment. Kim-Maree Cherry, a Benalla resident who works in Wangaratta, attended the group’s first meeting in February, and said it had changed her attitude to breast reconstruction. “I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2014, and had a bilateral mastectomy, hysterectomy, chemotherapy and radiation,”she said.“I had found it hard to find information about breast reconstruction, this group and the information it provided made a real difference..
Illawarra breast cancer survivor Annie speaks with ABC Radio about her breast reconstruction experience, why she chose reconstruction and how she feels now. A must listen for anyone trying to make this difficult decision.
Listen to the audio below.
“As it turned out, I was not comfortable with a solo breast. Finding clothes to wear, worrying about people staring if I flashed my scar, or if the prosthesis was going to pop out, and it was a daily and constant reminder of the cancer diagnosis. I had no confidence, going out was a nightmare and I was a shadow of my former self”.
After many months of research and appointments with several health professionals (during which time she was given out of date information about what was available to her), Anne was finally referred back to her original breast surgeon and put in touch with a specialist reconstructive plastic surgeon who carried out one of the newer procedures available.
Her breast surgeon also put Anne in contact with breast reconstruction charity Reclaim Your Curves who were able to help Anne understand what to expect and connected her with other women going through the same process, making her feel less alone.
Anne’s story will be featured in an upcoming Breast Reconstruction Awareness event to be held at City Digger’s Club in Wollongong on Monday February 27 from 5.30-9pm.
The event, organised by Reclaim Your Curves, will also feature presentations by Dr Tony Palasovski, Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon and VMO at Wollongong and Shellharbour Hospitals, and Dr Adrian Sjarif, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, who has practices throughout Southern Sydney and the Illawarra.
The Event is free, and open to women diagnosed with breast cancer, their supporters and health professionals, but bookings are essential: www.reclaimyourcurves.org.au/breast-reconstruction-awareness-events.html
Reclaim Your Curves member from Melbourne, Danielle Willox, shared her story on the ‘Life and Style’ program with Rob Richardson on Wyn FM on 23rd Jan 2017. Plastic Surgeon Dr Damien Grinsell explains more about breast reconstruction. Listen to the interview below;
WANGARATTA nurse Yvonne Richards knows first-hand the quality of cancer treatment in the country. Her biggest hurdle came later when seeking information about breast reconstruction.
The Northeast Health Wangaratta registered nurse recently finished treatment for breast cancer and is now going through the process of reconstruction. Mrs Richards said while she was well supported through her treatment, up-to-date information and support about reconstruction was harder to find.“I approached my diagnosis of breast cancer with a positive mindset, dividing my treatment into boxes,” she said. “First surgery, followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the final box being breast reconstruction. "
Breastcancer.org Chief Medical Officer and Founder Marisa Weiss, M.D. talks how radiation therapy can affect different types of breast reconstruction. Go to Breastcancer.org or listen below.
December 10, 2016
Launched on Pink Ribbon Day, the Influencing Best Practice in Breast Cancer statement identifies 12 key appropriate and inappropriate practices, from diagnosis to palliative care. The Statement includes discussing breast reconstruction options with a woman before she undergoes a mastectomy.
Cancer Australia led a highly collaborative, consultative and evidence-based approach to achieve consensus and relevance to the Australian context. The practices are underpinned by evidence, and have the support of all key clinical, cancer and consumer organisations.
Practice 11/ Not appropriate to perform a mastectomy without first discussing with the patient the options of immediate or delayed breast reconstruction.
This morning one of our wonderful members Bronwyn Davidson from the Central Coast NSW and her daughter Erin from Mt Isa QLD spoke with Scott Levi ABC Central Coast about their experiences with breast cancer and breast reconstruction. Erin was speaking before being wheeled in for exchange to implant surgery. This is the final step in her two stage reconstruction process. Later today we heard Erin is out of surgery and doing well.
Listen to the interview here
Visit the BRA Day Facebook page to learn more here
In response to a recent 60 Minutes episode featuring a young mum who had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, it is shocking to our community of women who have faced mastectomy, that the reporter referred to this young women's breasts as "just boobs".
In any context a comment like this can be hurtful and to a woman faced with having her breast or breasts removed it is all the more insensitive.
The media also sensationalized this young woman's right to take control of her treatment and get a second opinion resulting in a more conservative approach to her surgery
While following our passion and driving our cause sometimes we come across individuals in our community who just seem to 'get it' and can identify the value in our work and through their talent they can hep to provide a platform and a voice that otherwise is impossible. Sam Halpern from Jetty Blue Photography is one of those individuals and she is working with Reclaim Your Curves and some beautiful women to capture their story as they journey through breast reconstruction towards recovery.
from Jetty Blue blog...
Every once in a blue moon an opportunity comes along to be a part of a movement that has the potential to make a difference in thousands of women’s lives. Wouldn’t you do what you could to help? I have been very fortunate to have been gifted the opportunity to use my skills as an artist to raise awareness for an amazing charity called Reclaim Your Curves. They are a very brave and driven group of women who have decided that through their own painful experience of not just breast cancer, but breast reconstruction, that they would band together to try and make the journey for other women through the maze of reconstruction a little easier.
Read more here at Jetty Blue blog
One of the most important relationships you will have during your breast reconstruction procedures is with your reconstructive breast surgeon. Your reconstruction may take place over many months or even years, you might have several revisions and nips and tucks until you have achieved the result you want to consider yourself complete. Because of this it is important to have a good relationship where you can be comfortable and honest, able to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly as you proceed throughout your surgeries.
This is a beautiful personal story of one woman's experience. For women wondering about the differences between Aeroform gas tissue expanders and saline tissue expanders then this short video might be of interest.
When Tracy Posner underwent a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy in December 2015, she had the unique experience of having one AeroForm® tissue expander and one saline expander.
As a busy mom of two kids, Tracy found the convenience of the self-led tissue expansion provided by AeroForm® to be the preferable choice. She’s able to fill her tissue expander in the comfort of her own bedroom or bathroom, instead of having to travel to her doctor’s office.
Read the story, watch the interview
There are many stages of adjustment after undergoing a mastectomy and reconstruction and then more adjustments as time goes by as you begin to accept your new breasts. Sexual intimacy is part if the long road to recovery from breast cancer, love can heal these wounds.
Read the post at PRMA Centre for Advanced Breast Reconstruction
By: Courtney Floyd
Some great steps forward have been achieved with these new guidelines, but does this still mean your dentist can perform your breast reconstruction? Of course that sounds crazy, but it is also legal. Its is so important to have a reconstructive surgeon suitably qualified for the job, steer clear of the cosmetics. To find a surgeon qualified to do your reconstruction two good tools to help include
In Australia, a plastic surgeon has to complete a medical degree and then do at least seven years of post-graduate surgical training. But anyone who has graduated from medical school can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, and perform breast operations, liposuction and even facelifts.
Plastic surgeons develop innovative microsurgery technique for reconstructing breast after mastectomy
Advances in micro-surgery techniques promise to continue to improve the success rates of abdominal flap reconstructions.
Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeons have developed a new breast reconstruction technique that combines advantages of two different types of microsurgical procedures using abdominal and other tissue to reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy.
Flap-based procedures use a woman’s own tissue taken from the abdomen, thigh, or buttocks to reconstruct the breast. Surgeons have labeled the new procedure Superficial Inferior Epigastric Artery-Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery or SADIE Flap, an enhancement of existing techniques when more traditional flap surgeries called DIEP or SIEA aren’t ideal.
Dr. Nicholas Haddock, Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery, left, and Dr. Sumeet S. Teotia, Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery, developed an innovative microsurgery technique for reconstructing the breast after mastectomy.
Read the story at this link
Ahead of the upcoming Breast Reconstruction Awareness Event on the NSW Central Coast RYC Ambassadors Alison and Roseanna met with Scott Levi to discuss their experiences with breast reconstruction and the importance of being informed. Listen to the audio below.
The day you undergo your mastectomy is etched onto your soul.
The awakening on the morning of the surgery, the surreal feeling of autopilot because however else would you willingly get to the hospital for this, the crispness of the early morning to be sure arrival is 6.00am as the surgery takes all day, the quiet drive with your partner because no words fit the somber mood, the strange reality of seeing the early morning bustle on the street outside as you are prepped for such brutal surgery, the hurried arrival of the surgeons, the concentration as they mark your body with texta for the incisions they will make, the coolness of the nurses hands as she places the canula, the fear and the inability to speak because the reality of your situation hits hard, the gentle quiet loneliness as you drift off to the pre op drugs that take away your awareness.
It is heart warming to know that in the operating theatre there might be a human who is watching over me and feeling the significance of my situation.
The We Belong Project is "Bridging the gap between health care providers and patients through Empathetic Partnership". This blog piece is incredibly powerful and as a woman who has undergone mastectomy it touches me that when faced with the horror of what I was to endure, there were people in the room who honoured my body and my person.
This is their letter....
This is great news for any woman who is considering the use of lipofilling or fat grafting to finish off their breast reconstruction. Sometimes the breasts need just a little touch up to finish off a beautiful new pair or to match a new girl up to an original.
From the ASPS
For women undergoing breast cancer surgery, a technique called lipofilling--using the patient's own fat cells to optimize the results of breast reconstruction--does not increase the risk of recurrent breast cancer, reports a study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
"Our controlled study shows that, used as part of breast reconstruction, lipofilling is a safe procedure that does not increase the risk of recurrent or new breast cancers," comments ASPS member surgeon Dr. Steven J. Kronowitz of Kronowitz Plastic Surgery, Houston (formerly of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center), lead author of the new report.
New Evidence That Lipofilling Is Safe for Breast Reconstruction
Using a plastic surgery database, the researchers analyzed a series of more than 1,000 partial or total mastectomies followed by breast reconstruction with lipofilling. About 30 percent of cases involved risk-reducing mastectomy in women at high genetic risk of breast cancer.
Rates of recurrent or new breast cancers were then compared with a similar group of women who underwent mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction without lipofilling. In the lipofilling procedure, fat obtained by liposuction from one part of the body--for example, the abdomen or thighs--is injected to enhance the appearance of the breast.
For women who underwent mastectomy for breast cancer, overall recurrence rates were similar for reconstruction with versus without lipofilling. The rate of locoregional recurrence (in the breast and surrounding area) was not significantly different between groups: 1.3 percent for women who had lipofilling versus 2.4 percent in those who did not.
Rates of systemic (distant) cancer recurrence were similar as well: 2.4 percent with lipofilling versus 3.6 percent without. None of the women undergoing preventive mastectomy developed initial (primary) breast cancer.
In most patient subgroups, breast cancer recurrence risk was similar with or without lipofilling. The sole exception was women receiving hormone therapy, for whom lipofilling was associated with a small but significant increase in locoregional recurrence risk: 1.4 versus 0.5 percent.
Lipofilling is a fat grafting technique that is increasingly used to optimize the cosmetic results of breast reconstruction. In a 2013 survey, more than 60 percent of ASPS member surgeons said they used fat grafting as part of breast reconstruction.
But some plastic surgeons may still be reluctant to use lipofilling because of concern that it might affect the risk of primary or recurrent breast cancer. The new study of breast cancer recurrence risk associated with lipofilling is the first to use a control group of women who underwent breast reconstruction without lipofilling.
The results show no increase in the risk of locoregional or systemic recurrence in women with breast cancer who undergo breast reconstruction with lipofilling. The study also finds no evidence that lipofilling affects the risk of initial breast cancer for the growing number of high-risk women undergoing "preventive" mastectomy.
"Our results provide new evidence that lipofilling, used as part of breast reconstruction, is a safe procedure that does not increase the risk of recurrent or new breast cancer after mastectomy," Dr. Kronowitz comments. While highlighting the need for further research, the researchers hope their findings will encourage more plastic surgeons to use lipofilling to provide the best possible results of breast reconstruction for their patients undergoing breast cancer surgery.
(Reuters Health) - Women who get breast reconstruction right after a mastectomy may feel this helps improve their body image and overall quality of life, a small U.S. study suggests.
Most of these women said their new breasts were just as essential to their sexuality, femininity and relationships as the original ones, the study found.
BY LISA RAPAPORT
For women seeking breast reconstruction after facing breast cancer and mastectomy it is clear that the motivation is beyond just the physical restoration of her body. The holistic repair of a woman as she rebuilds her body and her self-image can be the major part of recovery. UK Plastic Surgeon Rozina Ali discusses this in a rare surgeons view of the procedures.
As Reclaim Your Curves reaches more people and we explain what we are about, there is a common theme among the uninitiated......a sincere disbelief that the NEED TO KNOW information for a woman facing mastectomy is simply not there when she needs it.
The quite reasonable assumption is that you will be provided with all the info you will need by your healthcare team, unfortunately for many, its simply not the case.
This radio interview is ahead of Reclaim Your Curves' first of several awareness events across Australia. These events aim to raise the awareness among women before they have their breast cancer mastectomy so they can make an informed decision about the future of their bodies.
Listen to the interview here
Cancer patient left $20k out of pocket despite private health insurance, as Australians dump cover amid rising fees
Breast cancer patient, Michelle Hennessey, has warned others to check their private health insurance fine print after forking out more than $20,000 for treatment, despite having private cover.
For women weighing up the pros and cons of the various breast reconstruction techniques, fat grafting is a tempting choice due to the promise of a non surgical technique and results of soft breasts using your own tissue. The added bonus is the tissue is sourced from fatty areas of the body. But the jury is still out as to the longer term safety of this technique for post breast cancer women.
This article by Kara Skarda for Air Axpanders blog