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Treatment

 
Treatment

Chapter: 6 - Treatment

Subchapter: 4 - Breast Reconstruction

Following a mastectomy, you have options to help you become comfortable with the changes in your body. They are all options, with benefits to each approach. What is best for you and your body may not be what is best for another woman.

If you are considering breast reconstruction, you should speak with your medical team before the mastectomy, even if you plan to have your reconstruction later on.

Reconstruction Methods
There are a few of options for breast reconstruction, and which one you use will depend on your age, body type, and treatment plan.

Implants
One possibility is to have breast implants. The breast is filled with silicone sacs of saline or silicone gel.

TRAM Flap, Latissimus Flap, or Gluteal Flap
An alternative solution is to use tissue the surgeon removes from another part of your body, like the belly (TRAM), back (latissimus), or buttocks (gluteal). The surgeon sculpts this tissue into the shape of your breast.

Surgical Summary
In addition to reconstructing the breast, the surgeon can add a nipple, change the shape or size of the reconstructed breast, and operate on the opposite breast as well for a better match. The plastic surgeon will be able to discuss with you the benefits and risks of each procedure, and help you decide what will make you feel the most natural.

Alternative to Breast Reconstruction
One alternative to breast reconstruction is a removable prosthetic breast that is worn in the bra. This will preserve the shape and look of the breast without the surgical procedures.

Summary
Whether you undergo breast reconstruction, wear a prosthetic breast, or choose to embrace the changes you have experienced, you should make a decision that is right for you. The goal is to prevent the discomfort of change, while enabling you to accept what has occurred and continue on with your life.

Related Questions

  • laura blevins Profile

    My pathology report showed "isolated"cancer cells in 1 of 2 nodes. My surgeon said its nothing to worry about since the node was removed. I can't help but worry! I did chemo, surgery, and now tamoxifen. Anyone else have a similar experience?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Laura,

      I had the same report.... in one of my nodes. My onc. and surgeon said pretty much the same thing. It did not change my treatment, the node was removed. All it did was change my stage from 2A to 2B. Do I worry about it 5 years later.... NO. I am also on a hormone blocker but it is...

      more

      Laura,

      I had the same report.... in one of my nodes. My onc. and surgeon said pretty much the same thing. It did not change my treatment, the node was removed. All it did was change my stage from 2A to 2B. Do I worry about it 5 years later.... NO. I am also on a hormone blocker but it is Femara. You have done all you can do. You have received all the treatments available. Now Laura, it is your job and duty to LIVE YOUR LIFE. Let the doctor's worry about your health. God's blessings to you. You have been on "high alert" for a long time.... let it go. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • terri best Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      I have stage 2b ductal carcinoma. I had a lynpectomy and also involvement in 1 of 3 nodes that were removed. I haven't started treatment. I'm having the Oncotype DX done and had a PET scan done last Fri. I have a follow-up with my oncologist Thurs. to go over the results of both. Ask your...

      more

      I have stage 2b ductal carcinoma. I had a lynpectomy and also involvement in 1 of 3 nodes that were removed. I haven't started treatment. I'm having the Oncotype DX done and had a PET scan done last Fri. I have a follow-up with my oncologist Thurs. to go over the results of both. Ask your doctor about these tests if it will make you feel better.

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have gained about 20 pounds during chemo. I still have to have surgery and radiation. Does anyone have some tips to lose some weight?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I gained around 25 pounds. I tried not to focuss on it and took the outlook that had a little more to spare when I did not feel good enough to eat or got sick. As the others have mentioned just focus on what you can do when you feel good enough to move around for some exercise (walking). I...

      more

      I gained around 25 pounds. I tried not to focuss on it and took the outlook that had a little more to spare when I did not feel good enough to eat or got sick. As the others have mentioned just focus on what you can do when you feel good enough to move around for some exercise (walking). I eventually got some of it back off, but again I don' t focuss on it. I take each day at a time and feel thankful for all that I have and am. Hang in there.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Chemotherapy --messes-- with you in many ways. The way you metabalize food can be one of them and also lack of regular exercise. Unfortunately, the way to lose weight is nothing magical... exercise and a careful selection of foods you eat. Vegies, fruit, lean protein, whole grains. My friend,...

      more

      Chemotherapy --messes-- with you in many ways. The way you metabalize food can be one of them and also lack of regular exercise. Unfortunately, the way to lose weight is nothing magical... exercise and a careful selection of foods you eat. Vegies, fruit, lean protein, whole grains. My friend, who I call a "foodie" told me the easiest way to shop for the right kind of food.... she says "Shop the perimeter of the grocery store" because that is where you find the least processed foods. The other is eat food that is closest to the way is "grew". The last was don't eat anything that is "white" which means "processed" white flour, sugar, ect. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • christina cappa Profile

    If diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, what kind of surgery should I expect?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Yashmira Devine Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Hi Christina,
      I was diagnosed in August, I had a bilateral mastectomy, no chemo, no rads, lymph nodes were negative, and have been recommended for tamoxifen for 5 years. Sharon is right, everyone is different so your treatment recommendations will be different.
      Good luck to you and remember to...

      more

      Hi Christina,
      I was diagnosed in August, I had a bilateral mastectomy, no chemo, no rads, lymph nodes were negative, and have been recommended for tamoxifen for 5 years. Sharon is right, everyone is different so your treatment recommendations will be different.
      Good luck to you and remember to rely on family and friends for help, support, literally. Have someone go with you to your doctor appointments, there is SO MUCH info that is being given to you, you have questions and you may go numb and forget to ask them. The person that goes with you should possibly have a notebook to write down all the info so that you can absorb it better when you are home.
      Again, GOOD LUCK.
      Yashmira

      Comment
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I had a lumpectomy and 16 radiation treatments. No lymph involvement so no chemo.

      Comment
  • Linda Green Profile

    Recommended clothes for first few days after masectomy? PJs open in front or tshirts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 4 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Darcy W Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a mastectomy 4 weeks ago. I wore yoga pants...easy to pull up and down and zip up hoodies....you should not expect to be able to pull a shirt over your head for awhile. The hospital gave me two snap up camisoles with inside pockets for the drain...theses were great. Best of luck to...

      more

      I had a mastectomy 4 weeks ago. I wore yoga pants...easy to pull up and down and zip up hoodies....you should not expect to be able to pull a shirt over your head for awhile. The hospital gave me two snap up camisoles with inside pockets for the drain...theses were great. Best of luck to you....the recovery was much easier than I anticipated.

      Comment
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Anything comfortable that opens in the front. You will probably come home wearing a surgical bra that you'll keep on for a bit. Good luck.

      Comment

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