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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

  • Megan Smith Profile

    My mother is having a double mastectomy. Post surgery, what are the advantages of her doing genetic testing? Thanks!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 3 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Hi Megan genetic testing for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are used post surgery as a further test to determine the treatment course. A positive result tells you that you carry the breast cancer gene the doctor might want to be more aggressive with her treatment and maybe suggesting removal of her...

      more

      Hi Megan genetic testing for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are used post surgery as a further test to determine the treatment course. A positive result tells you that you carry the breast cancer gene the doctor might want to be more aggressive with her treatment and maybe suggesting removal of her ovaries. A positive results will also help the family members male and female siblings and children get better monitoring and screening like earlier mammograms then age 50 or blood test and ultra sounds to screen for ovarian, prostrate and testicular cancers A negative results says that one doesn't carry the breast cancer gene but they are only testing two genes there maybe more that they are unable to test at this time. A positive or negative result does not mean you will or will not get cancer. It is just saying the gene is or is not present.

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      There are laws out there to protect you after positive gene testing. If you are having problems contact civil right lawyers in your state. You can google there. Site and in Hawaii there is a link for free help

      Comment
  • gabby ksendzovsky Profile

    My grandma is diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and is have surgery next week. Should I be worried about it even if the doctors aren't?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Gabby, how loving of you to be so concerned about your grandma. Although there are many factors that figure into a breast cancer diagnosis, it would be unusual for a stage 1
      breast cancer to be something to be highly concerned about. If her doctor's are not ringing their hands with worry, I...

      more

      Gabby, how loving of you to be so concerned about your grandma. Although there are many factors that figure into a breast cancer diagnosis, it would be unusual for a stage 1
      breast cancer to be something to be highly concerned about. If her doctor's are not ringing their hands with worry, I would follow their lead. They see breast cancer all the time, and a stage 1 with no mention of aggressive cells, you need to follow their lead and relax a bit. Your grandma will get the care she needs to cure this. This is a very early stage breast cancer that was found in plenty of time so you will have your grandma with you for a long, long, time. I don't know what type of breast cancer this is or what course of treatment will be followed but I know she will have the pleasure of her grandaughter with her along the way. Please try not to worry. Breast cancer treatment has advanced so much, and so many of us have been saved because of it... especially the women whose disease was diagnosed at Stage 1. Big hugs to you, your grandma must be a very special lady and is lucky to have you. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Joanne Uppendahl Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Gabby, your love for your your grandmother really stands out! It'll be so
      important to her as she goes through the treatment and recovery. As others
      have written, Stage 1 is so early and normally responds really well to treatment.
      I think she will likely be 'as good as new' - and how...

      more

      Gabby, your love for your your grandmother really stands out! It'll be so
      important to her as she goes through the treatment and recovery. As others
      have written, Stage 1 is so early and normally responds really well to treatment.
      I think she will likely be 'as good as new' - and how fortunate that her diagnosis
      came at such an early stage! I had a stage 2, and I'm a grandmother, and the
      love of my daughter and granddaughter made a huge difference as I went
      through surgery and radiation. I finished radiation a year ago and am feeling
      fine and so grateful that mine was caught early. Everyone is different and
      I don't know what type of cancer she has - there are various kinds of cells -
      but it does sound like she should do very well! In some ways, it's harder to
      be the loved one than the patient, so I hope this helps. My very best wishes
      to you and your grandmother!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I just had a partial mastectomy- no more infiltrating ductal carcinoma, have clear margins, negative lymph nodes but still in-situ present. I need more surgery before I start adjuvant therapy. I need info, advice, support- any? Thanks

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 4 years 3 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      If the next surgery is to put in a port for the chemo. You will be happy you did it. God Bless your journey

      Comment
    • cindy stephenson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Denise - I had the same thing. They went in 2 more times to get clear margins from the ductal cancer. The reexcision surgeries are much easy than the first one. I would be healing really good then open me up again but end result - clear margins. I started chemo 3 weeks after last surgery n...

      more

      Denise - I had the same thing. They went in 2 more times to get clear margins from the ductal cancer. The reexcision surgeries are much easy than the first one. I would be healing really good then open me up again but end result - clear margins. I started chemo 3 weeks after last surgery n radiation 3 weeks after last chemo

      2 comments
  • Julie Dalton Profile

    If I opt for a Mastectomy how likely is it that they will 'catch it all' and for it not to have spread anywhere else before they operate?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 3 answers
    • Surf  Momma Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      At the time of surgery, the doctors will look at your lymph nodes. If they come back positive, cancer has spread.

      I am 2 weeks out of having had a bilateral mastectomy.

      Good luck

      1 comment
    • M Aycock Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Good chance! Let them do both- I did and I'm 3 yrs out!!

      1 comment

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