Martha Jefferson Healthwise: BRA Day

Oct. 16, 2013

October is breast cancer awareness month, and doctors want to make sure that breast cancer survivors know all of their options when it comes to breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Now an initiative is underway across the United States and other countries called "Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day." It's also known as "BRA Day."

After a woman undergoes surgery like a mastectomy or lumpectomy to remove breast cancer, the next step is often breast reconstruction.

However, many women aren't always sure of their options. That's why doctors are hoping to raise awareness with this campaign.

"So, a lot of women are aware that breast cancer is a big issue in the United States, but 1 out of 9 women who've been diagnosed with breast cancer are not hearing what their reconstruction options are. So, that's what I want them to know that breast reconstruction is an option for them and they should know that information going into their surgery," said Dr. Victoria Vastine, Plastic Surgeon, Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Recently Demetrius Cox found a lump in her breast.

"I had a mammogram, did a biopsy, [it] came back and it was breast cancer," said Demetrius Cox, Patient, Martha Jefferson Hospital.

She talked with her team of doctors about treatment, got lots of information and weighed her options.

"The education part is the most important. So, I think if you get the education then you can go from there and decide what it is that you want to do that's best for your body," said Cox.

She ended up having a mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction surgery. It was the option that was right for her.

"It's built my self-esteem because I didn't lose anything. So, I gained," said Cox.

Doctors want patients to know that breast reconstruction can happen at any time. It can take place immediately after your mastectomy or a few years later. It's really up to the patient.

"It's just important that women understand that they do have options and they need to have all that information so they can make the best decisions for themselves and the point of BRA day is to try to close the loop on cancer care. From start to finish, we want everything taken care of in the best interest of the patient," said Dr. Vastine.

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