|Updated: July 2009
If you've just been diagnosed with breast cancer, or are choosing to have prophylactic mastectomies for a genetic mutation, BreastReconstruction.org will help you understand everything there is to know about reconstruction. Whether you want to learn which procedure is right for you, find out how to prepare for surgery, or just want to read Personal Stories from women who are undergoing reconstruction, we have it all right here.
It is never an easy task to make big surgical decisions in the face of breast cancer, especially when there is an overwhelming amount of information presented to you by doctors, family, and friends. The first decision that you may be faced with is whether to have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Before making that decision, you need to know your risk factors for a second cancer in the unaffected breast. It may also be beneficial to have genetic testing. Depending on the size, location, and characteristics of your tumor, your breast surgeon can present you with several surgical options. Putting all of this information together will help determine the appropriate course of action for you.
While it is normal to feel a sense of urgency to want the cancer removed immediately, it is important to make educated decisions that are not rushed. It is unlikely that taking a few weeks from the biopsy to the surgery will put you in further jeopardy. During this time you should establish your breast management team of doctors, including a breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, oncologist, and possibly a radiation oncologist. As you consult with each of them, you can make informed decisions about your breasts and your health. In our What Do I Ask My Doctor section, we provide a list of questions that can serve as a reference during your initial appointment with your plastic surgeon.
In the Reconstruction Overview you can read about the History of Breast Reconstruction. With the surgical advances of the last 20 years, plastic surgeons can utilize cutting edge technology to perform the latest techniques in breast reconstruction. You can also read about Immediate vs. Delayed reconstruction, to help determine which is right for you. If you have had previous radiation, or will undergo radiation therapy as part of your treatment, you should refer to Radiation and Reconstruction.
Throughout the web site you will find important information about Types of Reconstruction, Secondary Procedures, Pre and Post-Op Care, and the most up-to-date information In the News. After learning about reconstruction, you can Join Our Live Community discussion boards and chat rooms. There, you will discover a wealth of support and understanding.
Written and edited by our medical board