Breast Cancer Awareness Month Events

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October is a big month for the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction team and our wonderful patients—and we’re making it a celebration!

In case you didn’t get the hint from the pink ribbons taking over Charleston, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Supporting this cause is so dear to our hearts, and we want to let our readers know about some fantastic events happening in our area this month.

We can’t wait to see what great things October brings!

October 2—Susan G. Komen Lowcountry’s Swing for the Cure

This year we are a proud sponsor of the October 2 Susan G. Komen Lowcountry’s Swing for the Cure event—a tennis and golf fundraiser that supports the fight against breast cancer.

The weekend festivities will be kicked off with an Oyster Roast and Barbecue at The Lettered Olive Restaurant in Wild Dunes.

Click here for more information.

October 5, 12—Dr. Kline Talking Natural Breast Reconstruction

On October 5 and 12, you may see our very own Dr. Kline on Channel 4 talking all things Breast Reconstruction!

Click here for a sneak peek.

October 17—KOMEN LOWCOUNTRY RACE FOR THE CURE®

This event is always a BLAST. 100% of the net proceeds are allocated to supporting the local breast cancer community.

There are a variety of walks and runs for every skill level—even one for kids!

The race takes place at the Family Circle Stadium, and the gates open at 7 a.m.

Click here for more information.

October 23—Pink Day with Panera Bread

Be sure to head to one of the 3 Panera Bread locations participating in Pink Day. The Tanger Mall, Citadel Mall, and Main Street locations will be decked out in pink and providing pink ribbon bagels available for purchase. Delicious food and supporting a good cause are two of our favorite things!

Click here for more information.

For more on Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit our Facebook page.

Mastectomy: Your Questions Answered

pink flowerYou just found out that you might need a mastectomy.

First, we’re so sorry to hear that. We understand what an overwhelming and emotional time this is for you and your family.

A lot of thoughts and feelings start to rush through your head when you hear the diagnosis, and it’s difficult to focus and ask the questions you need to ask.

In this article, we’re sharing some common questions patients ask about mastectomies so that we can help you get all of the necessary information that you need.

What are the three levels of mastectomy?

Let’s start with understanding the three levels of mastectomy:

1) A total mastectomy removes the breast tissue, nipple, areola, and some skin around the incision. This procedure commonly follows cancers that occur in two or more areas of the breast or those that extend beyond a biopsy’s edges.

2) A modified radical is similar to a total mastectomy, but includes an axillary dissection or sentinel node biopsy. This is now the most commonly performed mastectomy.

3) Previously, the radical mastectomy was the most common procedure—removing muscle, lymph nodes, and skin. However, now this is rarely performed.

Do I really need a mastectomy?

In some cases, a lumpectomy with radiation is as effective as mastectomy.

Given the choice, most American women choose a mastectomy—even when the outcomes of the two procedures will yield the same result. As with any surgical procedure, it’s always advisable to get a second opinion from a surgeon in a different practice.

Recent advances in the mastectomy procedure help save normal body tissue, such as the breast skin and areola, that doesn’t necessarily need to be removed in every patient. Every patient’s circumstances are unique and so are mastectomies. For instance, preventive mastectomies are different than mastectomies for cancer or when lumpectomies don’t work.

Will my nipple be removed, and will there be scaring?

It depends on the individual’s situation, however, it is possible to have a mastectomy and save the nipple.

There are also situations when a mastectomy is done with a “hidden” or “scarless” approach.

Advances in microsurgery and breast surgery allow surgeons to perform mastectomies with hidden scars, similar to a breast lift or augmentation procedure, without leaving scars on the breast skin. Patients who are candidates for this surgery preserve their breast skin—including the nipple and areola.

This technique begins with an incision under the arm, under the breast fold, around the nipple, or down the bottom of the breast below the bra line. Reconstruction involves using a one of the perforator flap techniques (DIEP, SIEA, or GAP), where the relocated tissue fills in and shapes the breast.

Ask if your plastic surgeon works with a breast surgeon who considers these options when planning your mastectomy. Also if a reconstruction is scheduled immediately following mastectomy and you have completed chemotherapy and/or radiation, the mastectomy may be done in a way to make the overall result of your reconstruction better.

Have more questions? Our doctors are happy to provide their expertise.

What to Look For in a Breast Reconstruction Surgeon

picture of roseAs you face the prospect of mastectomy and possibly reconstruction, it’s important that you feel you’re in good hands.

We suggest that patients look for these four characteristics in their ideal plastic surgeon: skill, compassion, rapport, and honesty.

When interviewing surgeons (something you should definitely do!) for microsurgical breast reconstruction, ask the following questions:

Question #1: Are you a microsurgeon? Where and by whom were you trained in this specialty?

You will want to know exactly what the doctor’s specialty is and where his training took place.

Question #2: How many microsurgeries have you performed? And how often do you perform them?

You want to know that your surgeon is very familiar and well versed with your particular surgery.

Question #3: What is your success rate?

Not only is this an important question to ask in regard to the surgeon’s skill level, but it’s also important to ask about the overall success rate of the surgery you’re looking into, by any surgeon.

Question #4: Can you arrange for me to speak with some of your patients who have had the procedure I am seeking?

This is a great way to communicate with others who can give you advice on what to expect, post op recovery, and information on their experience with the doctor. It’s important to note that candidates should speak with people of similar ages and lifestyles.

Question #5: How long do you anticipate I will be under anesthesia for the procedure?

It’s important for the surgeon to walk you through what to expect the day of the procedure—this way there will be no surprises, and you can also let your caregiver know the time commitment.

Question #6: How many board-certified physicians will be assisting with the first stage of the procedure? Will there be physicians in training (residents) involved with my surgery?

Be sure to know exactly who will be involved in the procedure and why your doctor has chosen them to participate in the surgery.

Question #7: Will I have to sign a consent form saying, if a physician is unable to complete the procedure, I will have to consent to a TRAM/Free TRAM?

Always know exactly what you’re signing and agreeing to, and make sure you’re comfortable with the contract. 

Have a question for our doctors? Message them here

5 Myths About Breast Cancer

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There’s a lot of false information swirling around these days about what causes breast cancer.

It can be really confusing and overwhelming to sift through what information is valid and what is just plain untrue. Not only that, but some of this information can make the difference in early breast cancer detection.

That’s why we’re debunking these 5 myths that you may have heard about breast cancer.

1. Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk

It is important to get annual breast exams, even if you don’t have a family history of the illness. According to Health.com, about 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year had no identifiable risk factors. However, if you have a family history—especially with first-degree relatives, your breast cancer risk is increased.

2. Bras increase your risk

This is an absolute myth. Science has finally debunked the idea that wearing an underwire bra increases your risk for a breast cancer diagnosis. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the two have been found to be unrelated.

3. Breast cancer always comes with a lump

This myth is a real problem. Many women believe the only warning sign for breast cancer is finding a lump. A lump is certainly something you should look for, but women should also look for other, sometimes less noticeable, changes in their breasts. Some of these changes include nipple pain or retraction, skin irritation or scaliness, and breast swelling.

4. Your father’s family history doesn’t impact your risk as much as your mother’s

The women on your father’s side of the family increase your risk just as substantially as your mother’s. Make sure to educate yourself on common family illnesses on both sides of your family at least two generations back.

5. Drinking too much caffeine causes cancer

Good news for all you coffee drinkers out there: there has not been a scientific link found between caffeine consumption and breast cancer. Go ahead and pour yourself a cup of morning Joe!

Read these tips to learn how to decrease your chance for breast cancer

The Importance of “Thinking Pink” 365 Days a Year

pink ribbon for breast cancer

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month behind us and November starting, it’s important we not just “think pink” in October, but every month of the year by spreading the word and becoming an advocate

Traditionally, October is a time of great momentum for Breast Cancer Awareness, but the excitement of all the October events doesn’t have to end! You can support these efforts, to increase breast cancer awareness right in your own backyard—and beyond—365 days a year.

Here are some creative, original ways to “think pink” all year long:

  • Host an eventIt doesn’t have to be October for you to fundraise for the cause. You can “think pink” throughout the year as a fundraising vehicle to spread the word on how to increase breast cancer awareness. Or, show your support of a friend, colleague, or family member who has breast cancer, and fundraise just for them! (Seriously, who doesn’t love a good party for a good cause)!
  • Start a blog. With the Internet being the prime place people turn to for information on breast cancer awareness, you can create digital content that inspires people to “think pink”, and spread the word on breast cancer awareness every month to a global audience. It’s a fact that many women eligible for breast reconstruction following cancer surgery are not being properly informed of their options. Blogs and social media are a great platform to educate women on breast reconstruction awareness and to share your own story.

Speaking of which, if you aren’t fans on Facebook or following us on Twitter, we welcome you to join the conversation!

  • Join or host a support group to nurture breast cancer awareness. “Thinking pink” also means connecting with other women with breast cancer, breast cancer survivors, and with those who are also passionate about increasing breast cancer awareness. By plugging into a support group every month, you stay on the front lines of the fight long after Breast Cancer Awareness month is over.

Let’s keep the conversation going. Let us know if you have any questions, or if you’d like to join us to promote your next Charleston area event in our newsletter!

 

Komen Lowcountry Race for the Cure was a SUCCESS!

The 21st Annual Komen Lowcountry Race for the Cure at the Family Circle Cup Stadium on Daniel Island was a resounding success!  We were excited to be in attendance and to be the a Survivor Sponsor and also host the Survivor Café before the race.

Thousands of our popular string backpacks were distributed and we were tickled to see them dotting the race course! Big THANK YOU’s go out to the ZTA’s who stuffed them with information and made sure all of the ladies who visited the Survivor’s Café received one instead of standing in the long lines in front of our exhibit tent!

It’s amazing every year to see the HUGE difference people make when a community comes together to support a cause. And we got to meet lots of new people and see many of our past patients on a beautiful Saturday morning!  

We had so much fun, we thought we’d share a few photos from the event…

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The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction team showing off our PINK boas!!!

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We were thrilled and honored to be a Survivor Sponsor for the Race for the Cure!

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The start of the race. A BIG thank you to all of the participants!

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Ladies sporting The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction logo! Ready, set, run!

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It was honor to host the Survivor Café before the race!

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“She’s not only my mom, but my HERO!” Sweet boy honoring his mom.

We hope everyone had a blast –  and we hope to see you next year!

If you haven’t yet, make sure you follow us on Facebook!