Breast reconstruction is not a common topic for public discussion for a variety of reasons. But a new effort, mobilized by surgeons and former cancer patients, is intended to change this trend by spreading valuable information and opening a discourse for the discussion of breast reconstruction options after cancer treatment.

Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day: Origins

The first annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) day was officially declared by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Plastic Surgery Foundation to be October 17, 2012.

The event was designated to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana in order to distribute educational resources and direct information about the breast reconstruction opportunities available, and will also feature a number of previous patients and surgeons specializing in breast reconstruction.

A selection of breast reconstruction patients were available to openly discuss and demonstrate the reconstruction options that breast cancer patients have. The organizers of the event hoped that not only would the event become an annual tradition, but that the principles and goals behind the event would begin to spread and encourage other communities to engage in something similar.

Reluctance To Speak Up

Up until recently, the discussion of breast reconstruction has been seen by some as a kind of social taboo, but a new study by the ASPS estimated that 89 percent of women would want to see personalized possible outcomes of breast reconstruction surgery before seriously considering following through with aggressive and invasive breast cancer treatment.

At some point, looking at simple before and after photos becomes unfulfilling and lacks the diverse and personal education that direct communication can provide.

The Importance Of Breast Reconstruction Awareness

Some studies indicate that up to 70 percent of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer are not given adequate information about breast reconstruction options. Surgeons want more women to understand their reconstruction options more thoroughly, so they can understand what choices are available to them and be able to make a properly informed decision before proceeding with cancer treatment. Many former cancer patients who have undergone breast reconstruction understand the position of facing cancer treatment without knowing the options available, and similarly wish to reach out and inform the public.

Studies indicate that women who are better informed of their options and the possibilities of reconstruction are more likely to willingly undergo cancer treatment, and are far more likely to secure the resources they need in order to pursue reconstructive surgery. In many cases, breast reconstruction is covered under both public and private forms of health insurance, and even if a patient does not qualify for one form of treatment, there are several surgical and non-surgical options available for reconstruction. The event sought to highlight all of them.

Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day has proven to be an enlightening event that surgeons and breast cancer patients alike hope will soon become a national trend. The social stigma of openly discussing breast reconstruction impairs knowledge dissemination that could benefit women, making them more prepared to make better, more comfortable decisions. BRA Day hopes to eliminate this stigma and spread information to everyone who needs it.