Breast cancer reconstruction: Options after treatment (w/VIDEO)

September 29, 2013 | by hso

The best outcome of any cancer therapy includes not only eradication of tumor cells but also restoring the patient's health, well-being and dignity. In the case of breast cancer, this can entail reconstructive surgery.

"We work hand in hand with our breast surgeons and medical oncologists in offering reconstruction as an integral part of breast cancer treatment," said Mark Tan, M.D., assistant clinical professor and staff surgeon at City of Hope's Division of Plastic Surgery.

Approximately two-thirds of City of Hope patients who undergo mastectomy get reconstructive surgery immediately afterward, Tan said. The other one-third, for a variety of factors, either delay their breast reconstruction or opt to not get it at all.

In the video above, Tan explains the pros and cons of the three primary types of breast construction: use of implants, use of the patient's own tissue or use of a combination of the two.

The best type of reconstruction varies from patient to patient, Tan said, and factors taken into consideration include the patient's physical health, her cancer treatment and her expectations for postsurgery outcomes.

No matter which type of reconstruction is chosen, Tan said, most patients are "very satisfied and happy with what they've gone through."

Additionally, Tan noted that improved techniques and technologies have enabled surgeons to perform procedures that conserve the breasts and nipples, maintaining the breast's natural look and feel without compromising treatment's cancer-curative impact.

"Our goal is to try to get [patients] to the point in their lives where they are no longer constantly reminded of their breast cancer diagnosis," Tan said.

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