October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Published on October 12th, 2016

Did you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

One in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. An estimated 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women this year. The good news is that breast cancer is treatable and often times curable if discovered early enough.

Although I perform cosmetic breast surgery, I also perform reconstructive breast surgery for women who undergo lumpectomies and/or mastectomies. These are difficult operations for patients going through more than the average cosmetic breast patient but its very satisfying for me. Having witnessed my own father succumb to cancer at a young age, helping women with breast cancer get some sense of normalcy back into their life is very fulfilling and the main reason I went into medicine.

Many women who undergo breast surgeries such as mastectomies or lumpectomies are not aware that they can have breast reconstruction or cosmetically designed lumpectomies to better preserve the shape and look of their breasts. There was a time that insurance companies would not cover these costs but now, all of them have to cover breast reconstruction due to legislation. Anytime you are considering breast surgery, make sure to consult with a plastic surgeon.

Above is one of my patients who underwent left mastectomy followed by reconstruction of her left breast using abdominal tissue.

What to Know

The American Cancer Society recommends the following screening.

-Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.

-Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

-Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.

-Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

-All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening.They also should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.

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