You Have Breast Cancer, Now What?

“You have breast cancer.”

Those 4 words hold great fear for many women. If you have been told this then you have probably gone through, and are going through the confusion, fear, questions, and emotions of being told you have something that can rob you of your life as you know it. Your stomach may drop, and your heart seems to stop as you struggle to make sense of the words. Maybe you are  even hoping that your results were mixed up with someone else, and that this really isn’t happening to you. It’s a bad dream that you can’t wake up from.

One day your healthy, the next day your breast is gone.

Your doctor says, but wait, there is good news. You will live, but one or both of your breasts must be removed. For the many women being told this, it is just as devastating as their diagnosis. Losing any body part can be traumatizing, let alone our breasts. For many women, our breasts are very much a part of our femininity, and have an emotional and physical significance to us. They make up our shapes, give us curves, provide pleasure, feed our babies and allow us to feel like women.

When cancer threatens to take that away from us, it’s normal to feel sad and fearful. Now, just when you are most vulnerable you must also make decisions that may affect you for the rest of your life.

Each woman has her own concerns.

Reconstruction may be the most personal decision you will have to make.

Some women ask, will a mastectomy get rid of my cancer? How will I look afterwards? How do I fix my breasts? What is reconstruction? For many women there are several people involved in treating and supporting them. But when it comes to reconstruction, your surgeon takes center stage.

Any competant surgeon can remove a breast, but rebuilding one takes expertise. Your new breasts are literally in their hands, and the outcome of their work is what you live with. This is the time to do your research. Each surgeon may have a different opinion on how reconstruction can be accomplished, different personalities and skills.

When you are considering a surgeon consider there characteristics:

  • Skill-Because each woman is different, a surgeon should cover all your options for reconstruction. It takes time, skill and expertise to rebuild and reconstruct a breast.
  • Compassion-Are they sympathetic? Do they listen to you? A good surgeon will care about you, and your concerns. You deserve to be treated like an individual.
  • Rapport-Its important to find a surgeon whose personality fits yours, one that you trust enough to take care of you when you feel and look your worst.
  • Honesty-As hard as it might be to hear, pick a surgeon who will tell you what you can realistically expect, not what they think you want to hear.
  • Staff-A surgeons staff will also play an important part of your reconstruction, and  you may be spending alot of time interacting with them as well. Are they nice when you call? Listen to your concerns? Are they warm and friendly towards you in the office?

It takes time to adjust to knowing you are losing a breast, and sometimes alot of tears. Even after you make the decision to have reconstruction, it is normal to still have doubts. Don’t hide from your feelings, and enlist the support of your family and friends. There are many resources available, and comfort within the many support groups out there.

Here at Artistic Plastic Surgery we understand the issues and feelings that you are now facing, and we are here to help guide you during this journey and give you back your life, and your breasts. If you are facing reconstruction, as many of our patients are, you owe it to yourself to come in and meet with Dr. Dehghan, who has been helping change the lives of women on the road to recovery after breast cancer for over 12 years.