For over 30 years, October has been designated to help raise awareness, educate, and improve the lives of those with breast cancer and their loved ones. At Revalla Plastic Surgery and Medical Aesthetics, we are inspired by the courage, humor, and camaraderie that we see in and share with our breast reconstruction patients and their care takers. We celebrate them this month, and hope to continue to spread awareness for breast reconstruction options such as direct-to-implant, which can help provide a sense of confidence and closure after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Breast Cancer in the U.S.
Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of women are diagnosed with breast cancer. This year alone, more than 252,700 women will receive this diagnosis. That makes this disease the most common form of cancer among the female population, with one in eight developing it over her lifetime. It’s also the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, as over 40,500 will die from breast cancer this year. And breaking down those numbers makes them even more impactful: there’s one breast cancer diagnosis every two minutes and one death from the disease every 13 minutes.
Early Detection is Key
Although breast cancer is not preventable, detecting it early can make all the difference at successfully treating it. Many of breast cancer’s symptoms can’t be spotted without a professional screening like a mammogram or ultrasound. But there are some signs that you can feel or see when you are diligent in checking your own breast health, including:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Dimpling or puckering in the skin of the breast.
- A nipple turned inward into the breast.
- A fluid discharge from the nipple.
- Scaly, red, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola.
- Other changes or developments.
If you do find something unusual like a lump, please schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. But don’t panic! Most lumps turn out to be non-cancerous. In fact, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, four out of five lumps are benign growths.
When to Check
You should be conducting a self-exam every month. The optimal time for this is seven to ten days following your menstrual cycle, when the breasts are the least tender and lumpy. You should also be paying the doctor a visit once a year for a professional breast check-up. Women aged 40 and older are recommended to have a mammogram every year as well. The more proactive you are in screening for breast cancer, the more likely you are to catch it early on.
The Effects of Breast Implants
Breast implants can change how you approach screening and detecting a potential threat. Your regular mammogram can be slightly more complicated after breast augmentation. When scheduling your screening, it’s important to mention that you have had breast augmentation so that you can receive the best care possible, and the most effective imaging. You should also mention it again at the time of your appointment.
Reconstruction After Breast Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you do have several options when it comes to breast reconstruction following cancer. Dr. Hunsicker understands the importance of restoring a woman’s femininity to her body following a procedure like a mastectomy or lumpectomy. That’s why she specializes in a variety of techniques for restoring the breasts after surgery.
- Direct-to-Implant Reconstruction – A procedure which allows patients to have a permanent breast implant placed at the time of mastectomy, allowing women to emerge from surgery fully reconstructed.
- Staged Reconstruction Using Tissue Expansion and Implants – A procedure in which a tissue expander is placed at the time of mastectomy, and secondary surgery for permanent implant placement is performed later on. Once the tissue has been stretched to allow for an implant, the tissue expander is then exchanged for a permanent implant in a separate surgery.
- Fat Transfer Reconstruction – A procedure that is started after the patient has healed from mastectomy and cancer treatment. It uses the patient’s own body fat to create a breast mound.
Dr. Hunsicker’s all-encompassing approach can also address nipple reconstruction to give you the most natural- looking breasts following your cancer therapy.
Helping the Cause
If you’d like to help in the fight against this all-too-common disease, there are so many ways to contribute. You can donate to organizations like the National Breast Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society,
or the Susan G. Komen foundation. These leading institutions fight each and every day to better understand breast cancer and how to treat it. They also provide services like mammograms and support for those who may be struggling to find ample access to the necessary resources for breast health.
You can also work to raise awareness by sharing your breast cancer story with friends and loved ones. This can have a powerful impact in person and on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, or your preferred online outlet. And there are so many ways to be actively involved, like participating in walks, runs, and events to show your support.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Revalla Plastic Surgery
At Revalla Plastic Surgery & Medical Aesthetics, we are here to help you with any questions or concerns you may have about breast cancer and reconstruction surgery. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hunsicker, please contact us today.