The physicians at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery want to remind all women that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which encourages us to recognize the importance of early breast cancer detection. The focus of this annual campaign is to educate men and women about the value of early screening, testing and more.
While some forms of skin cancer primarily affect women, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. About 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Men are also susceptible to breast cancer but it’s not as common, less than 1% of men have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The most common symptoms of breast cancer can include:
- Changes in the shape or size of your breast
- Pain that is experienced in any part of your breast
- A discharge, other than breast milk but including blood, from the nipple
- A lump in either your breast or armpit area
Most women can successfully beat breast cancer if it is found early. Screenings, such as a mammogram, ultrasound of the breast, or MRI can help detect breast cancer early – when it’s easier to treat.
For those women who have had surgery as part of their treatment for breast cancer, some may choose to have reconstructive breast surgery to restore and rebuild the shape and look of their breasts. There are several different types of breast reconstruction procedures available yet the timing of the procedure will depend on a few factors, such as the risk factors that may be involved, and the post-cancer surgery treatments you may still need to undergo.
Breast reconstruction can be divided into two main types: implant-based, either using silicone or saline, or tissue-based or autologous, meaning your own body tissue is used to recreate the breast (most commonly from the lower abdomen. Sometimes a combination of a breast implant and your own tissue are used to reconstruct your breast.
For women who are undergoing a more conservative breast cancer surgery, such as a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, procedures such as fat grafting, a smaller breast implant, or local tissue rearrangement may be performed to reconstruct the breast. Dr. Vandegrift and the team at Cold Spring Plastic Surgery are specialty trained in oncoplastic surgery, which is a combination of the latest plastic surgery techniques with breast cancer surgery to restore the breast shape.
Oncoplastic surgery requires a close partnership with your breast surgeon to simultaneously allow a complete cancer excision, paired with a local reconstruction to ensure that the cosmetic appearance of your breast is maintained. At the same time, a reduction may be performed on the non-affected breast to enhance the symmetry between the two. Having this reduction can also decrease your risk of developing cancer on the other side. Oncoplastic surgery typically does not require the insertion of drains and is completed prior to radiation therapy, avoiding the risks of problems with wound healing that may happen with a surgical procedure post-radiation.
Please use this Breast Cancer Awareness Month to schedule your mammogram and a follow-up breast examination so that your outcome can be a positive one.
For more information about breast reconstruction and oncoplastic surgery techniques for lumpectomy and partial mastectomy, please contact us.