October is the month dedicated to increasing women’s awareness and vigilance about breast cancer. Even with this increased awareness, there are still women who delay seeking medical attention when they discover a breast lump out of fear of losing a breast.
This fear can be lessened with increased awareness of the ability to reconstruct or rebuild a woman’s breast. There is data from the National Cancer Data Base that suggests that breast reconstruction is performed less commonly in women from the Midwest and the South. Increased awareness that the breast can be reconstructed after a mastectomy in most women should help to alleviate that fear.
Although there is increasing use of treatment methods that do not require removing the entire breast, mastectomy, or complete removal of the breast, is still the recommended treatment in many cases.
Several different methods of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction are available. Not all facilities are able to provide a full spectrum of treatment options. Hannibal Regional Medical Group offers advanced implant technology.
With the passage of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, insurance companies that provide coverage for mastectomies must also pay for breast reconstruction, as well as surgery to make the other breast a better match to the reconstructed breast at the patient’s option.
Progress continues to be made in the treatment and reconstruction after breast cancer. I am committed to sharing new, exciting information with our community as it develops.
Schuyler C. Metlis, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a board certified plastic surgeon with Hannibal Regional Medical Group and specializes in cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Dr. Metlis is a long-time investigator in breast implant research. His office is directly attached to Hannibal Regional Hospital in the Hannibal Regional Medical Building. Dr. Metlis can be reached at (573) 629-3500. For more information on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, visit www.hannibalregionalmedicalgroup.org.