With all of the issues associated with breast cancer surgery, one that does not receive much attention, if any at all, is the scars after breast cancer surgery. At the time of decision-making before surgery, most of us focus on what needs to be done in order to remove the cancer and selecting a course of treatment that prevents the cancer from spreading. But, little to no thought may be given to our physical appearance after surgery unless we have a surgeon who is acutely aware of the psychological effects that one can experience after having one or both breasts amputated. The aware surgeon will suggest getting a cosmetic surgeon involved in order to make some really critical decisions about the physical and psychological results from this surgery.
Based upon my own experiences, I am very grateful for the help that I received at the time of my double mastectomy. Therefore, I thought that this was a really important issue for patients to consider as part of the process of determining what care and treatment they wanted for themselves but again, I really didn’t know where to start.
The plastic surgeon, by getting involved early in the process, is able to provide information to the patient about how to create the best outcome available for the individual. But, if your surgeries have already been completed, this professional is also able to address other scenarios including what can be done for those who had their surgeries but never addressed this matter and what can still be done.
This information is not provided to suggest that a person should make any particular choice but rather to provide options and to let them know that they do have choices. Armed with information, one can have the necessary conversations with their own doctors to determine what are the best possibilities based upon their individual situation. Each of us has the right to decide how we would like to deal with our individual bodies and lives and this type of a decision is no exception.
I feel so fortunate to have had a team of doctors who were able and willing to work together. I had my double mastectomy and immediate reconstruction at the same time. For me, there just never was any other choice but I also respect that each of us has a right to our own choices. However, there are so many more options available now than were available at the time I made my choice so by being aware of this aspect of treatment, you can determine what importance this issue is to you. After all, this is also a huge part of treatment that can affect a person for a lifetime and is an issue that is so much bigger than one may realize when in the middle of making what are often considered to be life and death choices.