Every October, we observe National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to U.S. Breast Cancer statistics, approximately 1 in 8 U.S. women (around 13%) will develop invasive breast cancer throughout her lifetime. This year, not only will an estimated 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer be diagnosed in women in our country, but also 49,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
Self Exams and Mammograms
When it comes to beating breast cancer, early detection is essential. You will want to be seen for clinical breast examinations and mammograms, especially if you are a woman over age 40. Speak with your doctor about when and how often you should be getting a mammogram, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer.
It also is recommended to perform monthly self-exams to spot breast cancer early, especially if you find a lump or mass in the breast that feels different from your surrounding tissue during your self-exam. In the early stages, a lump will be hard to find, and it is why you should be getting routine mammograms. You can see how to do a breast self-exam by visiting:
Signs of Breast Cancer
– Changes in the shape, size or appearance of your breasts
– Nipple inversion or discharge
– Breast rash or pain
– Changes in the skin over the breast like scaling, peeling, flaking, dimpling, redness or pitting
You can improve your odds of preventing breast cancer by not smoking or drinking, exercising more, and eating a healthy diet.
If you have had a mastectomy due to breast cancer, you can decide to have reconstructive plastic surgery performed to restore confidence in your appearance. This plastic surgery procedure gives your body the natural curves it had before breast cancer. You can once again have the symmetry your breasts deserve. Breast reconstruction replaces the skin, breast tissue and nipple to give you a natural appearance. Factors that will need to be considered include the mastectomy itself and the width, size, and location of the tumor, which was taken out of the breast.
If you require a mastectomy for breast cancer, you can also have plastic surgery or breast reconstruction surgery done at that time (immediate reconstruction) unless you have to have radiation therapy right after the mastectomy (delayed reconstruction).
Reconstruction With Implants
If you are considering breast reconstruction, you have several options like breast implants. Breast implants are filled with silicone or saline gel to give you the shapely breasts you want. Autologous tissue from another area of your body (like your stomach or buttocks) can also be used to create your breasts. In some cases, both implants and autologous tissue are used. After breast reconstruction, you can also have a nipple and areola constructed (if not preserved during your mastectomy).
To perform the implantation, you will need sufficient skin and muscle available post-mastectomy to cover the implant. It is a shorter surgical procedure than reconstruction using autologous tissue and also less blood loss. Additionally, your recovery and healing time can be faster than with autologous reconstruction. You will have follow-up visits so that the expander can be inflated and the implant properly placed.
This October is a good time to assess and be more mindful of your breast health. Good health starts at home, and taking good care of your body so you can look and feel your best is key! If you would like to learn more about breast implantation or other surgical enhancements to your body, we welcome you to reach out to our team to schedule a consultation.