Women who undergo mastectomies have many options these days for breast reconstruction, but may not know it. Ramona Farris is a breast cancer survivor and advocate. She wants to raise awareness among all women, and minorities in particular, that reconstruction following mastectomy is a right. “There are laws,” Farris said. “Women have the right to be made whole where we were prior to having breast cancer.”
Doctors with The University of Kansas Health System agree that awareness regarding breast reconstruction is low, but the word is spreading through advocates like Farris.
“Awareness about options for reconstruction and insurance is growing,” James Butterworth, MD and plastic surgeon said. “There are many options available that we tend to think about in two large headings … implants and the patient’s own tissue.”
Whether implants or reconstructing a breast using tissue from other parts of the patient’s body, Dr. Butterworth says the process begins with your plastic and cancer surgeons.
“There are so many different options, it really depends on the individual and what works best for them,” Farris said. “But, you have to spread the word and ask the questions.”
Dr. Butterworth adds, “It’s an intensely personal decision and the reconstruction can be done over time or in some cases at the same time as a mastectomy.”
In the video below, Dr. Butterworth talks more in-depth about the options available for breast reconstruction. Ramona Farris shares her reconstruction story which included a third option, a breast reduction. Also on the video is TV friendly b-roll of breast reconstruction surgery and an office consultation showing the different kinds of breast implants.