Oct. 16 marks an important day for many breast cancer survivors.
Bra Reconstruction Awareness Day or BRA Day is an initiative designed to promote education, awareness and access regarding breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.
BRA Day was created to bring attention to the fact that many women eligible for breast reconstruction surgery aren’t being told about it. Up to 70 percent of women are not being informed of reconstruction options after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to braday.org.
The theme of this year’s BRA Day is "Team Approach." In other words, all breast cancer physicians need to work together to provide patients with the best possible treatment plans.
"Almost every woman can initiate breast reconstruction at the same time as she undergoes mastectomy," says Dr. Debra Johnson of The Plastic Surgery Center in Sacramento. "Unfortunately, women in rural areas and those of lower socio-economic classes are often not informed of their options."
This results in women either never considering reconstruction or getting additional surgery after the fact – which can lead to a less satisfactory result, Johnson said. BRA Day seeks to inform women that they do have choices, and that they have every right to consult with a plastic surgeon before they undergo their cancer treatment.
Studies have revealed:
89 percent of women want to see photos of reconstruction surgery results before undergoing treatment.
Less than a quarter (23 percent) of women are familiar with the quality of outcomes that can be expected.
Only 19 percent of women understand that the timing of treatment for breast cancer and the timing of their decision to undergo reconstruction greatly impact their options and results.