What happens when you wait to have breast reconstruction following mastectomy?

by Hannah Leatherbury, Education Contributor

Perhaps you or someone you know has gotten one of the 78,000 mastectomies that are performed every year in the United States as part of a breast cancer treatment plan. Were you, or your loved one, concerned about losing one or more of your breasts, but not given enough information to comfortably make a decision about potentially reconstructing your breast?

You are not alone.

Findings from a national survey conducted by Cancer Support Community found that 43% of women eligible for breast cancer reconstruction did not receive information about their options during their treatment.

You may be wondering, is it possible to reconstruct your breast if you decided to wait? How long would the process take and what resources would it require?

Two resources may help you with this inquiry:

The first is a short video that provides an animation of how a breast is reconstructed with details about where incisions are made, what materials are used, and how long the reconstruction process could take.

The second is a free copy of Frankly Speaking about Cancer: Breast Reconstruction. This comprehensive resource contains descriptions of:

  • types of breast reconstruction options
  • description of  how each process works
  • how surgeons can mitigate side effects and decrease time it takes to heal
  • clothing and comfort tips

Get your free Second Edition copy of Frankly Speaking about Cancer: Breast Reconstruction by downloading it or having a hard copy shipped to you after you order online here.

About Ivy Ahmed

Ivy Ahmed is the Vice President of Education and Outreach at the Cancer Support Community. In this position she oversees the development, promotion and implementation of national CSC education programs. She also oversees the development of online educational materials and national professional outreach related to education programs. Ivy has over 15 years in public health and has worked in both the private and public sectors promoting cancer education. She served as a health educator and case manager with the District of Columbia’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program and as the health communications manager with Lockheed Martin on a contract to support to the NCI’s Cancer Information Service. Ivy holds two degrees from the George Washington University, a Bachelor in Literature and a Master of Public Health.

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  • Michele Ryan11

    I waited too long. 8 years later plastic surgeon said too much scar tissue to get a good result now