(HealthNewsDigest.com) – A survey of 762 women with breast cancer who were eligible for breast reconstruction conducted by the Cancer Support Community (CSC) found that 43% of patients do not receive information about breast reconstruction options at diagnosis. According to Kim Thiboldeaux, President and CEO of the CSC, “Despite improved access to information about breast reconstruction, our survey found that there remains a need for an all-inclusive patient education resource that enables women to think about what’s personally important to them so they can be empowered to ask the right questions and make the best decision.”
Breast reconstruction is one of the many very personal and important decisions that a woman has to face at the time of cancer diagnosis. New breast reconstruction treatment options being developed by plastic surgeons can add to the confusion women may feel. The more women know about breast reconstruction and the choices currently available in terms of silicone gel and saline breast implants as well as tissue flap techniques, the better equipped they are to make an informed decision. Fortunately the number of breast cancer patients undergoing reconstruction has increased substantially over the last five years due to growing consumer awareness, and greater acceptance of plastic surgery among consumers, especially for reconstruction. Over 60% of survey respondents opted for breast reconstruction following a partial or full mastectomy, and approximately 80% of respondents stated that they were either extremely satisfied or greatly satisfied with their decision to undergo breast reconstruction and their results. Yet only about one-third of women who undergo mastectomy go on to have breast reconstruction (Medical Care, Vol.48, No. 10, October 2010). The survey also found that many women wish they knew more about how they would feel after reconstruction (30.8%) how they would look after reconstruction (31.5%), future breast health (22.9%), risks and benefits of immediate vs. delayed reconstruction (14.0%), and the details of each procedure (15.2%).
As part of an ongoing commitment to making sure women have the most up-to-date information about all their breast reconstruction options, leading breast implant maker Mentor (www.mentorwwllc.com) has teamed up with Cancer Support Community (CSC) to support the launch of Frankly Speaking about Cancer: Spotlight on Breast Reconstruction. This comprehensive program has been designed to foster patient empowerment by streamlining information about breast reconstruction for women and encourage them to talk to their doctors about their options for reconstruction, at the time of diagnosis so they do not have regrets later on. The program will also offer free community based patient education workshops across the U.S. beginning in 2011, an extensive patient education resource guide, online resources and multimedia educational tools. It will offer women one central location to get the vital information they need.
To learn more about Frankly Speaking about Cancer: Spotlight on Breast Reconstruction. visit www.cancersupportcommunity.org.