No two breast cancer cases are alike, but if you are diagnosed with breast cancer and survive, you will typically experience two phases of the disease: the treatment process and remission. The initial stages of breast cancer involve surgery, whether for a biopsy or to complete a mastectomy or lumpectomy. The latter are performed when your best chances of survival depend on the removal of portions of one or both breasts.
More and more women with breast cancer are choosing to receive mastectomy or lumpectomy for the sake of their lives. Over 35% of 1.2 million women had a mastectomy between 1998 and 2011, according to JAMA Surgery, and more than 64% elected for lumpectomy combined with radiation treatment.
Full or partial removal of the breast is often the best treatment option for breast cancer patients, but the results of the procedure can have debilitating effects on a woman’s appearance and self-esteem. Many women take pride in their appearance and have a difficult time adjusting to the physical changes that cancer creates, which is why patients will opt for breast cancer reconstruction after their mastectomy or lumpectomy has been performed.
Coastal Plastic Surgeons is one of the leading facilities in San Diego that offers breast reconstruction for cancer patients. Dr. Batra has performed hundreds of reconstruction procedures and creates the most natural results for each of his patients.
Breast cancer may change your appearance, but that does not mean you don’t have options to restore it. There are a variety of reconstruction methods available to you that will help you regain your normal appearance.
Your options after mastectomy or lumpectomy
If you currently have breast cancer or have survived through it, you understand the emotions that the disease creates for everyone involved. There are feelings of helplessness, vulnerability and anger, but also emotions that come from strength, self-assurance and vulnerability.
Each feeling that you and your family experience come from the many changes that breast cancer creates. Not only is your physical health impacted by the disease, but aggressive treatments like chemotherapy can affect your mental health and appearance. It all can determine how you fight through treatment.
Many patients seek the support of family, friends, support groups, therapists and religious leaders who encourage them to remain strong. Reconstructing your breasts may be the last thing on your mind as you contend with your cancer, but it is an important procedure to consider if you desire to look and feel as natural as possible.
Breast reconstruction can take place in various ways, depending on the outcome of your breasts after mastectomy or lumpectomy. Dr. Batra reconstructs your breasts in a way that will suit your body the most and create natural results that improve your body contour.
A flap technique is usually used to restore the breast, which requires donor muscle from either the abdomen, back or buttocks. The tissue is then attached to the remaining breast and can be connected to the original blood supply in the body or left on its own. Oftentimes, a tissue expander is placed into the new breast and, over the period of a few months, injected with a saline solution to stretch the tissue to a desired size, after which the expander is replaced with an implant. You can elect to have your nipple and areola reconstructed as well in order to create the most realistic restoration.
You can choose to have your breasts reconstructed either at the time of your mastectomy or later; just make sure you inform you primary care physician or surgeon about your plans so that they can design the best course of treatment for you.
Some patients feel as though they have had enough surgery after their breast has been removed and decide to wait before undergoing another procedure while others want to restore their breasts immediately after having one or both removed. Either way, breast reconstruction is a viable option.
It’s always the right time to keep your breasts healthy
Surviving breast cancer is a relief and a triumph all in one, and now that you are in remission, maintaining your health is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your cancer never has a second chance.
You might consider seeking the help of a nutritionist who can professionally formulate a diet that includes the necessary foods to keep you energized and satiated. Maintaining a healthy weight, consuming the proper foods and eliminating habits such as smoking and drinking will significantly lessen your chances of another diagnosis.
Adopting an exercise regimen is another effective way to remain healthy throughout your recovery. Chemotherapy often comes with repercussions that affect stamina and your mental health, so it may be difficult to begin exercising at first, but starting slowly with a walk around the neighborhood or taking the stairs at work will get you one step closer to optimal health.
Cancer treatment can also impact your cognition and response levels, making you feel fatigued, depressed and susceptible to memory loss. With regular exercise, you can reduce stress levels and feel happier overall. You will become stronger and build your endurance, which should help you feel more confident and improve your mood. Receiving regular mammograms with your oncologist is another precaution to take during recovery.
When you combine lifestyle changes with breast reconstruction, you can restore your appearance, look and feel better, and slowly return back to your normal self. Although breast cancer is a devastating disease that has no regard for who it impacts, you have the power to fight it and feel confident about your appearance in the process.
At Coastal Plastic Surgeons, we want to help you feel like the best version of yourself, which is why Dr. Batra has perfected breast reconstruction for patients who have undergone mastectomy or lumpectomy.
If you would like more information about breast reconstruction or to find out whether the procedure is right for you, contact Coastal Plastic Surgeons at (858) 365-3558 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Batra.