SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Fighting breast cancer

October 16, 2012

7 fears about reconstruction debunked

To reconstruct or not to reconstruct -- it's one of the toughest questions a woman faces following a mastectomy. Here's the information needed to make an informed decision.

(Continued)

“One can do a delayed reconstruction. But if one can get it together and really make a decision upfront, there’s some economies of scale, so to speak,” says Dr. John Link, author of “The Breast Cancer Survival Manual, 5th Edition” (August 2012, Holt Paperbacks) and director and founder of Breastlink Medical Group, a comprehensive breast cancer treatment group in Orange, Calif.

There are a variety of types of reconstruction, he says. One is a silicone implant. The second type is where fat and skin are brought in from somewhere else to create the new breast. The third option is a hybrid of both.

“When the breast implant is put in after the mastectomy, it eliminates an added surgery,” Link says. “In our practice, 90 percent of women have immediate reconstruction. Those women who deny it are more likely to do it because of age or underlying health issues like pacemakers, severe obesity, diabetes or heart failure.”

Fear #2: If I have to have radiation or chemotherapy, I can’t have reconstruction until it is over.

“Each person receives different treatment and depending upon that treatment, a decision should be made with discussions between the woman and her health care team,” Rakoff says. “Women should be informed that radiation does have an effect upon the skin and can limit the reconstructive choices.”

Fear #3: It is too dangerous to have reconstruction when you have an aggressive form of cancer.

“No,” Russell says. “Even if women are dying of breast cancer, they deserve to have any type of body they want. You just have to make sure a patient is healthy enough to go through the surgery.”

Fear #4: If I don’t have reconstruction, I’ll never feel like a “woman” again.

“There are many women of all ages who have chosen not to have reconstruction and are beautiful, sexy women,” Rakoff says. “I know several who were diagnosed in their 20s, married after breast cancer and had children. They and their partners feel they are lovely, wonderful “women.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fighting breast cancer
Local News

Local News
  • Guilty verdicts in probation trial

    July 24, 2014

  • Ex-Market Basket boss wants to buy company

    July 24, 2014

  • Court finds Danvers nursing home at fault DANVERS -- The estate of an elderly woman who died after a fall and weeks of neglect at a Danvers nursing home has won a $14.5 million verdict in a wrongful death and negligence case. A Middlesex Superior Court jury awarded the estate of Genevieve Ca

    July 24, 2014

  • chism2 [Duplicate] Chism arraigned in second attack

    BOSTON -- When the woman came out of the bathroom, accused murderer Philip Chism was standing a foot in front of her. He put his hands around the clinician's neck, started choking her and pushed her up against a cinder block wall, a prosecutor said.

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos 7 Stories

  • 140723_SN_DLE_PROTESTERS4 Danvers Market Basket forced to toss food

    DANVERS -- Cars peppered the Market Basket intersection Wednesday afternoon with honks supporting grocery chain workers, who held signs calling for the reinstatement of fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. But the latest development in the grocery chain spe

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos 6 Stories