« Interest in Plastic Surgery Grows, Despite the Economic Downturn | Main | Silicone Implants Now as Popular as Saline »

May 11, 2010

Few Breast Cancer Victims Opt for Reconstruction

Over the past few decades, plastic surgeons have documented that breast reconstruction improves the emotional well-being of breast cancer victims.  Creating an attractive breast mound after a mastectomy is not only possible, but is beneficial.  Some studies have even demonstrated that the decrease in depression that results from being "made whole" can minimize anti-depressant usage and maximize compliance with adjuvant cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy.  The net effect is increased longevity; breast reconstruction can help breast cancer victims live longer.

Recognizing the value of breast reconstruction, the State of California passed legislation in 1996 mandating insurance coverage for reconstructive surgery.  The federal government followed in 1998.

However, a number of recent analyses suggest that only about 20% of mastectomy patients opt for breast reconstruction.

Researchers from the City of Hope Medical Center, in Duarte, California, recently reported the problem is especially acute in...

  • women older than 40
  • certain ethnic groups (especially African Americans)
  • public insurance (especially MediCal or Medicaid)
  • smaller hospitals

Obviously, the results indicate that it is very important to get information out to patients about reconstruction options.  Breast reconstruction is a right!

I would suggest that most breast cancer victims at least consult with a plastic surgeon before cancer surgery.  They need to know that breast reconstruction does not delay cancer treatment, does not minimize the effectiveness of chemotherapy, and does not indicate that they are "vain."  I always want women to really think about their choices.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Few Breast Cancer Victims Opt for Reconstruction:


San Diego Plastic Surgery

I think one of the factors in the decision not to pursue reconstruction is the idea of going through multiple surgeries. If women can be made aware of their options to have a mastectomy and at least a portion of the reconstruction done in a single surgery they might be more open to the idea.

D. McCarty

Los Angeles Plastic Surgery

Having breast re constructive surgery right after a mastectomy is usually more successful and less painful for the patients. I'm glad to see insurance companies are forced to pay for these surgeries now, as they shirked payments for years.

San Diego Plastic Surgery

I just wanted to drop back by to invite any visitors to your site who have been diagnosed with breast cancer (or have a loved one dealing with the disease) to read this blog post: http://www.bolithomd.com/blog/maryanns-story-reconstructive-surgery-after-breast-cancer/

Maryann is a writer who has gone through breast cancer and reconstruction. I believe her story may give hope and comfort to women who are facing the same events in their lives. She talks about what it was like to consult with her plastic surgeon for the first time after receiving her diagnosis and what a difference it makes to be treated with respect and compassion during this process. As you say in your blog post, women need to understand their choices. Maryann's story makes it clear that reconstruction doesn't have to be traumatic and scary if your surgeon is supportive.

Daisy McCarty

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog Design & Consulting by flyte new media