Several studies have shown that a large percentage of women who face mastectomy are unaware of their reconstructive options.
That may be a bit surprising, considering the amount of information that is now available, but many sources of information may be unavailable in your area or they may not be sufficiently comprehensive.
While solid information about mastectomy and reconstruction can be found online, it isn't isn’t always comprehensive, objective, and sometimes it isn’t correct.
Surgeons don't always have the time to adequately discuss various options in the detail women need to consider their postmastectomy possibilities. And surgeons tend to describe and discuss the procedures they perform, and not necessarily the ones they do not.
Even helpful friends who have already had breast reconstruction can share only their own experiences...which may not be the same for you.
The number of women who remain in the dark about their reconstructive options remains high. So, in 2011, Dr. Mitchell Brown, a Canadian plastic surgeon, proposed a significant effort to help turn that around: a single day each year that would be used to build awareness of breast reconstruction.
The following year, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) supported the effort in the United States; Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day is now recognized annually on the third Wednesday of October.
The information-rich events continue to expand each year, with a variety of educational events held in most states. In 2016, nearly 200 ASPS members and organizations participated in raising awareness around the United States.
This year, Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day is October 18. If you have a mastectomy in your future, whether to treat or prevent breast cancer, and you’re looking for more information about your post-mastectomy options, check out the list of events being held in your state.
And be sure to pick up a copy of the new, updated 4th edition of The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook. First published 15 years ago to help answer women's questions about mastectomy and reconstruction, it clearly explains different types of mastectomy, "going flat" (foregoing reconstruction), and all the different methods to rebuild a woman's breasts. It’s all the answers you’re looking for in one handy source.