October 11, 2012
October is breast cancer awareness month and doctors in Charlottesville are taking the time to also raise awareness about breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. In this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise report CBS19’s Stephanie Satchell is taking a look at the "first of its kind" awareness program.
Once a woman undergoes a mastectomy to remove breast cancer, for many patients the next step is often breast reconstruction.
Doctors at Martha Jefferson hospital say many women don't know a lot about the surgery. That’s why the hospital is participating in the first ever national Breast Reconstruction Awareness day.
“It's an initiative that was started to try and increase awareness, education and access for the breast reconstruction options available to breast cancer patients,” said Dr. Victoria Vastine, Martha Jefferson Hospital.
During the awareness campaign doctors will also address some of the biggest misconceptions about breast reconstruction surgery.
“One is that it can't be done at the time of the mastectomy and that it's in the patients best interest to wait and that's a big misconception,” said Vastine.
Dr. Victoria Vastine says opting to have a reconstruction at the time of mastectomy can have major benefits.
“From an esthetic standpoint the outcome is better if it’s done at the time of the mastectomy because the oncologic surgeon can spare more skin then an appropriate plastic surgeon can use it to reconstruct the patient,” said Vastine.
Another concern the program will address is cost.
“Women are not always aware that it’s something that can be done or that it's covered by their insurance. It’s a big concern for many particularly in hard financial times. They want to know whether or not their insurance is going to cover it and it is covered,” said Vastine.
While having a mastectomy may remove cancer, Dr. Vastine says reconstruction surgery can also make a woman feel better about her appearance.
“For women, that esthetic improvement helps them do better in their recovery. Studies have shown that they have more hope, a better attitude about the outcome,” said Vastine.
Breast Reconstruction Awareness day will give patients a chance to learn more and whether this procedure is right for them.
Breast Reconstruction Awareness day will be held on October 17th at Martha Jefferson Hospital at 6:30 pm. For more information or to register call 434-654-7009.