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What is BRA Day? Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, or BRA Day, was created to raise awareness and educate women about breast reconstruction options post-mastectomy (after removal of breast for cancer). Not only are there are multiple breast reconstruction options, but these options can be tailored to each patient's particular type of cancer, body shape and personal preference (within boundaries of medical safety).
One may reasonably ponder why BRA Day is even necessary, as patients with breast cancer surely get educated about their treatment option. Unfortunately the reality is very different-not all women are offered information about breast reconstruction at the time of diagnosis. As a matter of fact, the two main reasons women do not undergo breast reconstruction is that patients are not referred to breast reconstructive surgeons and are not informed of their reconstructive options.
This is why involvement in BRA Day is so important. Breast reconstruction is part of a comprehensive approach and treatment for breast cancer patients. It is just as pertinent for breast cancer patients to be educated about breast reconstruction and the options available to them. Studies show that women who undergo breast reconstruction experience significant improvements in psychological, social, and sexual well being. Reconstruction may not be for everyone, but at least it will be the patient's own decision to refuse reconstruction and not someone else's.
The comprehensive approach mentioned earlier is often referred to as the "Team Approach" to breast cancer care. Many breast cancer centers have been established across the country to provide a cohesive approach to treatment of breast cancer patients. Integral to this cohesiveness is the frequent breast tumor board meetings that occur to discuss each individual patient and their individualized treatment. Members of this group of specialists are breast surgeons, plastic reconstructive surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, geneticists, nurses, patient care coordinators and more. This board meeting, and this type of team approach, ensures that key decisions regarding each patient's treatment are discussed and agreed upon by all team members. All aspects of care from social to medical are addressed at these meetings.
Please become active and participate in this year's BRA Day, planned for October 16. A list of local BRA Day events can be found at BRAdayUSA.org. Become educated and help educate others about the availability of breast reconstruction options and why all women deserve the team approach to breast cancer treatment.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.