Losing a breast affects women in different ways. Everyone’s circumstances are unique, therefore women react differently to the available treatment options and surgery. However, it is important to take an informed decision about the options at your disposal.
Considerable progress has been made in the field of breast surgery, breast reconstruction and radiotherapy. When a woman undergoes initial counselling, she should discuss the possibility of breast conserving therapy with her doctor, in other words, the removal of the tumour and surrounding tissue (wide local excision), without removing the breast, following by radiotherapy.
If breast conserving treatment is not possible or chosen, and a mastectomy is performed, breast reconstruction should be considered. Reconstruction involves rebuilding the breast. It is an option that should be considered by every woman who has to undergo a mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure for mastectomy patients to restore the breast contour and, if desired, also the nipple and/or areola. The procedure is usually performed by a plastic surgeon who has experience in this field. It can be performed immediately after the mastectomy as part of the same operation, or at a much later stage. If radiotherapy is recommended, breast reconstruction can be performed once radiation has been completed, breast reconstruction may involve one or more operations, depending on the type of mastectomy and type of reconstruction.