Breast Reconstruction Awareness: A Ray of Hope Post Mastectomy Surgery

October 11, 2018

When a 40-year-old, Maryam, an Arab national was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer, she found herself in the hardest battle of her life. Maryam discovered her condition when she visited her doctor for a regular check-up. What came next, left her devastated. She was diagnosed with cancer, which dwelled in her for several months. To add to her woes, what came next was even more distressing. Her breast surgeon suggested a mastectomy - amputating the entire breast to treat the cancer. While the pain of cancer was not enough, the idea of having a mastectomy shattered the young woman. However, her breast surgeon told her about the possibilities of breast reconstruction surgery at CosmeSurge, which not only would complete her breast cancer treatment, would help her dramatically improve her confidence.

“When the young woman came to us for a consultation on breast reconstruction, she sounded apprehensive and nervous. But once informed and well educated, she opted for the reconstruction procedure which she has no regrets about,” said Dr Dora Evangelidou, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. Breast reconstruction surgery is a procedure used to improve reconstruct or recreate the shape of the breasts following mastectomy for breast cancer treatment. For cancer patients, this procedure provides the possibility of restoring the breasts to a natural and feminine shape and improving patients’ self-confidence. Breast reconstruction is among the most rewarding procedures post a mastectomy. Several studies indicate that breast reconstruction can dramatically improve a woman’s mood, feelings of attractiveness, relationships, and even success at work. Reconstruction can be done at a later date, however the trend in the western countries is to be performed at the same time with mastectomy. This not only allows for better aesthetic results but also it increases patient satisfaction rate and reduces physical and psychological downtime period. Patients don’t have to wake up anymore from breast cancer surgery and find themselves disfigured or amputated. 7 out of 10 Women with breast cancer in UK choose Immediate reconstruction and this can be achieved here in Dubai too, if we have a mandatory law that compels doctors to educate patients in advance.

There many types of breast reconstruction but the one used more often in the whole world is the implant-based breast reconstruction. “When this type is chosen, implants are used to reconstruct the breast mount where alternatively tissue from the same patient could be used instead of the implant. It is a routine surgery and it usually adds less than one hour to a regular mastectomy surgery. Dr Dora Evangelidou is passionate about educating women regarding their reconstructive options and she stresses the importance of consulting a plastic surgeon with breast reconstruction experience as soon as the breast cancer diagnosis is set.

While the young Arab woman had an opportunity to opt for this treatment, it has been noted that only not every woman is aware of the possibilities of reconstruction, and the many options that are available to them. Research indicates that less than a quarter (23 percent) of women know the wide range of breast reconstruction options available to them and only 22 percent of women are familiar with the quality of outcomes that can be expected with breast reconstruction.

With so much information and so many options often going unseen by many women struggling post-mastectomy, events like Breast Reconstruction Awareness (B.R.A) Day have taken shape across the world. The very first B.R.A Day occurred in Canada in 2011 to promote awareness of breast reconstruction options to the general public, and Dr Dora as an ambassador of BRA day in Rome 2014 under the patronage of the Canadian embassy is keen to promote Breast Reconstruction awareness here in the Emirates as well. Doctors in the UAE are hopeful that Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day will soon become an annual event in the country too.