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Advocating for breast reconstruction awareness by ASPS member surgeons


"BRA Day" stands for Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. Unfortunately, many research studies have shown that not all women are made aware of their breast reconstruction options at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis. Specifically*:

  • 89% of women want to see breast reconstruction surgery results before undergoing cancer treatment
  • Less than a quarter (23%) of women know the wide range of breast reconstruction options available to them
  • Only 22% of women are familiar with the quality of outcomes that can be expected with breast reconstruction
  • Only 19% of women understand that the timing of their treatment for breast cancer and the timing of their decision to undergo reconstruction greatly impacts their options and results

The very first BRA Day occurred in Canada in 2011 to promote awareness of breast reconstruction options to the general public. Launched in October 2012, BRA Day USA is a collaborative effort between the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Plastic Surgery Foundation, plastic surgeons specializing in breast reconstruction surgery, breast cancer nurse navigators, corporate partners and breast cancer support groups.

Occurring on the third Wednesday of October each year, BRA Day USA is now in its 6th year. This year's BRA Day campaign emphasizes "the Team Approach to breast cancer care." Working together from the onset of a woman's breast cancer diagnosis to develop and implement a personalized treatment plan, this team involves a multidisciplinary group of key medical professionals, including gynecologists, radiologists, plastic surgeons, breast surgeons, medical oncologists, and other support staff. When the Team Approach is implemented at the time of diagnosis through treatment and recovery, it can result in significantly improved patient outcomes and quality of life.

How can Plastic Surgeons be involved with increasing awareness about breast reconstruction options?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has tasked its members to help promote awareness of breast reconstruction options by hosting local BRA Day USA events in their communities. ASPS member plastic surgeons, breast cancer patients, their families and friends coordinate events on BRA Day USA that include question and answer sessions, lectures, flash mobs, fundraising parties, advertising campaigns and community events.

BRA Day USA event ideas include:

  • Educational Seminar - Organize a presentation by plastic surgeons, breast surgeons, nurse specialists and other medical professionals on topics such as breast reconstruction options, timing for surgery, latest advances, etc.
  • Art Contest & Raffle - Ask breast cancer survivors to design a bra and auction them off
  • Spa Day - Ask a local salon to support a day of spa services for breast cancer patients
  • Question & Answer Panel - Invite plastic surgeons, breast cancer survivors, patients who have undergone mastectomy and breast reconstruction to be part of a panel where members of the community can freely ask questions and breast reconstruction
  • "Show and tell" Intimate Event - Approach smaller breast cancer support groups to host a breast cancer survivor who has undergone mastectomy and breast reconstruction to speak to the group, and if comfortable, show the women what reconstruction actually looks like
  • Advertising Campaign - Develop a poster or signage with a message, images, statistics, etc. Have the image posted on the sides of a bus, in store windows, etc.
  • Patient Appreciation Lunch - Host a fundraising or complimentary lunch to honor your breast reconstruction patients. Invite their friends, family and supporters

Events planned for 2017 across the U.S. are listed on the BRA Day USA website. This year, my San Francisco office is hosting videos of my breast reconstruction patients describing their individual journey with breast reconstructions that will be shared live on social media. Who better to educate others about breast reconstruction but our patients themselves!

Breast reconstruction is a personal choice, but all women deserve to know their breast reconstruction options. It's time to close the loop on breast cancer.

It's not too late to become a BRA Day USA Affiliate and organize a local event! Get involved and help increase awareness about the latest breast reconstruction options available to women!



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