Breast Reconstruction Options Following Breast Cancer Treatment – Many women eligible for breast reconstruction are not told about all of their options. In honor Breast Cancer Awareness month, I had an opportunity to interview a doctor and a patient (who is also an actor and director) about the breast reconstruction process and breast reconstruction options following breast cancer.
Breast Reconstruction Options Following Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast reconstruction is more than cosmetic. It plays a major role in the breast cancer process by helping women recover not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically as well.
Here is my interview with Dr. Song, Academic Chair for the Department of Plastic Surgery at Georgetown University Medical Center and Carin Silkaitis, a Chicago actor and director who opted for reconstruction surgery after she was diagnosed with an abnormal BRCA gene that vastly increased her chances of developing breast cancer.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Dr. Song, let’s start with the basics, who is a candidate for breast reconstruction and are there some that don’t qualify for the procedure?
Dr. David Song – Yes, I think everyone’s a candidate for some sort of reconstruction, and that’s the importance here is to make sure that patients are aware of all their choices, so they can involve a plastic surgeon from step one at the time of their diagnosis to tailor a reconstructive journey and an outcome that’s right for them.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – What options and legal rights do cancer patients have when making reconstruction decisions and is this something that is covered under a medical insurance plan?
Dr. David Song – First and foremost, in 1998 a federal law was passed mandating third-party pairs to cover breast reconstructive surgery, as well as a symmetrising procedure to even patients out. So, with that in mind, everyone’s a candidate and there’s a whole host of options from using your own tissues, to implants, to a combination of both. And, that’s why it’s so important to involve an American Society Plastic Surgeon member from the get go.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – Carin, you’re dealing with so much when going through the breast cancer process from A to Z… what are some obstacles you faced when making the decision to undergo Breast Reconstruction surgery, and in what ways did the breast reconstruction surgery help you?
Carin Silkaitis – Yes, thank you. I think some of the obstacles are the fact that the diagnosis itself can be overwhelming and couple that with a lack of information… I feel very lucky that my board certified plastic surgeon was involved from the very beginning of the process… really involved in my medical care team with my breast surgeon, my plastic surgeon… together we camp up with the best options not only for my body, but also for my life style. I’m a performer and a director and a mom with a very busy life and a very busy career. I felt like my medical professionals were able to give me a number of options including going to websites like breastreconusa.org where you can look at patient stories, you can look at before and after photos, and figure out the look and feel and the way you want your body to be post surgery.
Lisa LaGrou Oakland County Moms – How successful is breast reconstruction surgery in terms of how they look and feel?
Carin Silkaitis – It’s very successful. I was actually shocked at how realistic my body feels and looks. In some ways, and this may sound strange, I like my breasts and the way my body looks better now actually. My plastic surgeon was amazing and I really felt like I was able to make some improvements including downsizing a little.
For more info on Breast Reconstruction Options Following Breast Cancer Treatment, visit breastreconusa.org.