Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month we thought we would give you some of the latest figures and facts on this issue as well as a general outline of prevention and treatment. In addition, we wanted to mention some of the options for breast reconstruction following surgery for breast cancer.
What are some of the recent statistics for breast cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society, since 2022 breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women. About one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. The median age of the first diagnosis of breast cancer is 62, meaning half of the women are over 62 and half are under 62. Unfortunately breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women although death rates have declined by 43 percent since 1989.
What about Breast Cancer prevention and treatment?
While we have made some huge strides in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer we can never stress too much about seeking early prevention and treatment. Getting an annual mammogram and regular breast self-examination are vitally important in early treatment and detection. The mammogram will allow the radiologist to detect changes in the breast tissue. In addition, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, moderate or no alcohol consumption, stress reduction, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are all important in preventing cancer. You should discuss with your primary care doctor and gynecologist what age they recommend you begin your mammogram screening as this recommendation has changed over the years and varies based on individual genetic factors. If you have genetic factors putting you at increased risk of breast cancer your doctors will guide you with the best recommendations.
Breast cancer treatments can involve chemotherapy, radiation and surgery either separately or in a combination. Surgery can consist of either removing part of the breast tissue, a lumpectomy, or total breast removal, a mastectomy. If considering surgery, you will want to discuss your options for breast reconstruction with your oncology surgeon and a plastic surgeon so they can work as a team.
Can I get breast reconstruction at the same time as my breast cancer removal?
Depending on your choice for breast reconstruction and your individual situation, following discussions between you, your board certified plastic surgeon and your oncologist, it may be possible to do the reconstruction at the same time which is referred to as immediate breast reconstruction.
What are some options for breast reconstruction?
There are a variety of procedures to restore the size, shape and form of the breast following either a lumpectomy or a mastectomy treatment of breast cancer. In addition, women also have the option to have a a breast lift or breast reduction for the other breast in order to make both breasts symmetrical in appearance if only one breast is involved. The two most common breast reconstruction procedures are implant reconstruction and flap reconstruction. Implant reconstruction uses a silicone gel or saline filled implant. Flap reconstruction involves using the patient’s own fat, skin and muscle and sometimes blood vessels to create a natural looking breast. Our co-founder at Atlanta Plastic Surgery, Dr. Carl Hartrampf, pioneered one of the flap methods called the transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap for breast reconstruction. For more information on breast reconstruction you can visit https://www.atlplastic.com/blog/category/breast-reconstruction/
We’re always happy to answer questions like these to help educate and reassure our patients. For more information on this topic and any other plastic surgery procedures we perform or to schedule a consultation appointment today, please contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery at one of our Atlanta, Northside/Sandy Springs, and Cumming/Forsyth area locations. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for additional plastic surgery tips, news, photos, and much more.