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Myths may put off some women from post-cancer breast reconstruction

Myths may put off some women from post-cancer breast reconstruction

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Even though the surgery can improve quality of life, many women are hesitant about the invasive procedure. ‘Anything we can do to increase awareness of reconstruction and the relative risks and benefits will empower more women to make an informed decision,’ the study’s author said

Misconceptions may be keeping many women from getting breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, even though the procedure can help improve quality of life for cancer survivors, according to a new review.

“Anything we can do to increase awareness of reconstruction and the relative risks and benefits will empower more women to make an informed decision,” said lead author Dr. Lisa Schneider, a surgeon at the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at the Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury, New Jersey.

Schneider and her coauthor, Dr. Babak J. Mehrara, a plastic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York, reviewed previous studies of breast reconstruction to understand what influences women to opt out of the procedure.

In the U.S., less than 40% of women who have a mastectomy for cancer treatment undergo immediate breast reconstruction, the authors point out in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

One myth the authors address is the notion that women don’t care whether they undergo reconstruction. On the contrary, the authors found, women who choose reconstruction show improvements in mental health, social functioning and body image, compared to those who don’t.

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