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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.
There are a few of options for breast reconstruction, and which one you use will depend on your age, body type, and treatment plan.
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.
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.
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.
Asked by anonymousLearning About Breast Cancer
My mom was just diagnosed with Stage 4 breast with mets to bone. She is going to have a mastectomy after 5 cycles of taxotere/carboplatin/herceptin. This is what her oncologist is recommending. He is one of the best in Florida.Comment 1
Waiting for a responseComment 0
Asked by anonymousSurvivor since 2010
Try a sports bra one size too large for you ;)Comment 0
Funny that someone mentioned yoga bras (sounds like something I'll check out!! because my yoga teacher just recommended the Coobie bra. She showed me two that she recently bought and they look great! Kind of like sports bras but prettier and they have removable pad inserts. Check them out!1 comment 0
Asked by anonymousFamily Member or Loved One
I'm only four weeks out of surgery but i already know i will never be the same. Not physically or emotionally!! It forever changes you but not all bad. Alot of wonderful things have come from this!! I have learned to be more patient, not sweat the small things, appreciate things i took for...
I'm only four weeks out of surgery but i already know i will never be the same. Not physically or emotionally!! It forever changes you but not all bad. Alot of wonderful things have come from this!! I have learned to be more patient, not sweat the small things, appreciate things i took for granted, found kindness where i never knew it existed, and met amazing courageous ladies, like all of you!! I get depressed, but i try to focus on the good things that have happened. We just all have to find and accept our new "normal" We can do it, with each others help!!! Us pink ladies ROCK!!! Stay strong and focused!!
I am a BC survivor. Diagnosed in August of 2009. Had single total mastectomy followed by 4 rounds of chemo. As I was going through everything I was sort-of in a holding pattern. Just doing everything day by day as I needed to, but once the chemo was finished I felt this overwhelming sense of...
I am a BC survivor. Diagnosed in August of 2009. Had single total mastectomy followed by 4 rounds of chemo. As I was going through everything I was sort-of in a holding pattern. Just doing everything day by day as I needed to, but once the chemo was finished I felt this overwhelming sense of depression. I felt lost, left at the side of the road. There were no more treatment appointments, doctor's appointments went to every 3 months then every 6, and I really felt like...ok, it's time for me to pick up the pieces now. But I didn't know how. I didn't know how to feel, what to feel, or what to do for that matter. On top of all that, my body decided that it was time to launch me into menopause. Now, almost 2 years later, the depression has pretty much subsided, thanks to taking walks with my dogs. I do have a very bad case of extreme exhaustion, which has been very challenging. I can sleep from 10pm until 4 or 5pm the next day sometimes. I find I have to force myself to get up, and even then, my legs feel like they are lead. I am back to work part-time, and it is getting a little easier as time goes on. I found that most of my depression came from guilt. I felt that I should be able to bounce right back into my life. I don't think after breast cancer you ever bounce back into your life. For me, anyway, it's a somewhat "different" life. You look at things differently, you will notice that many things don't matter anymore...little things, that shouldn't have mattered before. You will also see people in a different light. I noticed the triteness in many people. People who take their lives for granted, and are focused on what they have and are going to get, rather than if they are kind to other people, and accepting of other's mistakes. Anyways, I digress. I guess in a nutshell, you very well may experience depression, but there are a whole lot of other emotions you will also experience. Just learn to take the bad with the good, and know that it WILL get better! Good luck to all you women who have yet to start on this journey. It really is a journey of the body, mind, and spirit. So, be good to all of them, because this journey really never ends...you will always be a survivor!
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