A fresh review tells us that cancer survivors are hesitant in getting a breast reconstruction. Misconceptions and myths are keeping them at bay. The study's author suggests we may need more awareness on this front. The surgery can improve their lifestyle standards.
On reviewing previous studies of breast reconstruction, Schneider and co-author Dr. Babak understood that less than 40 percent of women who have undergone mastectomy for cancer undergo a breast reconstruction in the US.
The Author Says...
'Anything we can do to increase awareness of reconstruction and the relative risks and benefits will empower more women to make an informed decision.' said lead author Dr. Lisa Schneider, a surgeon at the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at the Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.
When addressing to myths, the authors found that there are notions that women don't care about breast reconstruction and on the contrary woman chose reconstruction as it helped in improving their mental health, body image and social functioning. One high quality study portrays that, more than socio-economic background and ethnicity, a woman undergoing reconstruction depends on her doctor mentioning about it during her first visit.
Fears About Breast Reconstruction:
The author mentions a study conducted in 1998: More than one third of doctors feared that detection of cancer recurrence would get delayed if there was a reconstruction.
- About 17 percent of doctors thought reconstruction will lead to high complications
- Instant reconstruction may also delay the start of chemotherapy - this was the next fear
- The risk of repetitive cancer and delays in detection of new tumors is also another fear
Studies conducted over a 20-year period have found no increased rate of recurrence with reconstruction. "When patients opt for immediate reconstruction, the cosmetic results tend to be superior, as a skin-sparing procedure is performed which preserves the skin envelope and the shape for the plastic surgeons to fill," Chagpar said.
Women look for body image and feeling of femininity. This is a factor that motivates breast reconstruction.