Breast reconstruction cannot be waived and is an integral part of cancer treatment in women affected by cancer
BRA Day. It is an important anniversary for women, the one that is celebrated on October 21st all over the world. It is the International Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, scheduled in more than ten countries in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. In fact, there are increasingly precise and effective techniques of plastic surgery that can help, on the physical but above all psychological front, women who face the disease.
The goal of the day is to emphasize that the reconstruction of her breasts means for the woman the recovery of her feminine identity and is therefore an integral part of cancer treatment. In fact, the most recent studies reveal that just over 20 percent of women are aware of all available treatments for breast reconstruction, and less than 20 percent are aware that the timeliness of breast cancer treatment and its reconstruction has a great impact on the aesthetic results, as well as on the prognosis of the disease.
"In the Covid-19 era, the BRA Day message must reach women even more strongly and clearly – underlines Mario Rietjens, Director of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery of the European Institute of Oncology (IEO). Unfortunately, the fear of contagion kept them away from hospitals during the first wave of the virus and some were even afraid to undergo reconstructive treatment, as if it were an "extra" intervention. But it must be emphasized that reconstruction is a patient's right recognized by the national health system, it cannot be waived and is an integral part of the treatment and healing process, recommended by all international scientific organizations. In fact, during the lockdown, our division interrupted only the postponable interventions, such as the adjustments of previous interventions, but maintained its rhythm of activity, also operating the patients of six other hospitals, who came to us as a non-cancer center. Covid “.
According to the expert, then, the possible aesthetic results are continuously improving, thanks to the permanent evolution of surgical techniques and materials. Bra Day internationally this year is dedicated to pre-bib technique.
Immediately after the surgery to remove the mammary gland, the prosthesis is inserted in its place, without touching the pectoral muscles. The result is undoubtedly a more natural breast, with a minimally invasive intervention. "However, it should be emphasized that this is one of the many possibilities available to the plastic surgeon today, which allow us to guarantee a personalized reconstruction for each woman – recalls Rietjens".
It is always important to arrive early
Undergoing screening according to age-related prescriptions is essential, with obvious differences based on the profile of each woman. Early diagnosis, in fact, is the best tool for identifying a possible lesion in the initial phase and therefore being able to have a more conservative attitude.
"BRA Day this year must be an opportunity to recover women at early diagnosis – reports Viviana Galimberti, Director of IEO Breast Surgery. The risk of contagion from Covid-19 must not increase the risk of discovering advanced stage breast cancer, when the chances of recovery are limited and the possibility of minimally invasive treatments is lower. Even the reconstructive surgeon, always at our side in the operating room, has fewer options if the cancer is more widespread. So, now that hospitals are safe, women need to attend screenings, get early diagnosis tests, and go to a multidisciplinary Breast Unit or Breast Unit immediately if they suspect cancer. Covid-19 rightly imposes many individual sacrifices on everyone, but it should not make them give up their femininity after breast cancer. "