Breast Reconstruction Surgery: 16 Pre-Op Q&As from Our Physician Assistant

Breast reconstruction surgery can be scary. And we know that you’re bound to have questions about what to expect when it comes to the surgery itself and the healing process afterwards.

Thankfully, we have a handful of reconstruction surgery experts at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction. We’re thrilled that one of our very own Physician Assistant, Audrey Rowen, PA-C, takes special care to personally answer reconstruction surgery questions asked by our patients. We were particularly impressed by this group of them and wanted to share with you!

If you’re about to have breast reconstruction surgery, or are considering the option, please keep reading! We think you’ll find comfort in the answers below.

1. Where will the scars on my breasts be and will I be able to wear low-cut tops like I did before?

We try to use previous implant scars if we can, but sometimes we need to do things a little differently in order to access the blood vessels behind your breasts.

The incisions we make are generally below the nipple line and should be covered by most clothing. The shape and overall appearance of the breasts after stage 1 is not the final result so things won’t look as you are hoping until after the second stage. But, every person is different, and we will be better able to answer this question at your pre-op marking appointment and after your first surgery has been completed.

2. How long will I be in the surgical bra?

We typically keep our patients in the surgical bra for a minimum of 6-8 weeks and during any strenuous activity after that. After most healing is complete, we can switch you to a front-closing sports bra or other similar bra that provides support without being too tight. Most women wind up wearing a surgical bra through the first 2 stages and may be able to go without a surgical bra after that.

3. I think you said you could make me a C cup. I’d like you to make me as big as you can with what I have to work with.

We will do our best to give you the biggest flaps we can at the first stage. After that we can do fat grafting to increase the size of your breast. 

4. Does more fat in my tummy area make bigger, better breasts?

It can. This doesn’t mean we want you to go out and try to gain a bunch of weight before surgery because you can’t target where you want to store fat. In fact, sometimes the fat goes around your intestines or below your abdominal muscles, and we can’t get to that fat. Women who have larger tummies often have larger flaps, but we can always use liposuction to gather fat from other areas (buttocks, thighs, inner knees, waist area) at subsequent stages to add volume to the breast mounds later.

5. I understand they will not be pretty at first, but will they be lumpy or smooth, or what should I expect about how they are going to look in the beginning?

Every patient is different so the outcomes are not always standard. At the first stage, you will have what we call a “window” where the donor site flap skin is visible on your new breast. This does not mean it is an opening, but rather imagine that a piece of your skin is donor skin while the rest of your breast has your original breast skin.

This is not always permanent as we can sometimes completely close the breast skin on top of the flap, but in some patients who could not have skin-sparing mastectomies, they may always have that section of tummy skin showing.

Things stay pretty swollen for up to 2-3 months so there may be hard or squishy areas that may change throughout your recovery. We try to create a semi-smooth transition from your breast/chest skin to your donor site flap, but our main priority at stage one is to get the blood vessels attached and keep them working.

Things may look a little deformed, asymmetrical, or strange after the first stage, but we fix these issues at stage 2. You are also likely going to have what we call “dog ears” on either side of your abdominal incision from pulling the skin together. This will also be fixed at stage 2.

6. I think you said I wouldn’t need to have mammograms anymore. Is that correct?

Usually, you will not need any mammograms after having a mastectomy with reconstruction. Your oncologist often makes the definitive decision if you are at any increased risk of recurrence or need any routine monitoring. We still highly recommend doing monthly self-breast exams to monitor for any changes. If it does, please notify us or your oncologist/breast surgeon if you find anything of concern.

7. I would like to see some before and after pictures of the different stages and final result. How can I accomplish this? Can you send some to me?

We have some pictures on our website that show you the before and after photos. We do not have any designated photos of the in-between stages to show you, unfortunately. Dr. Kline may have a few extra pictures to show you at your pre-op marking appointment if you wish.

Click here to view our image gallery. 

8. Will you be lifting my left breast to make it match the right one that doesn’t sag because of the radiation?

We always take radiated breasts into consideration when making the flaps. We sometimes make a radiated breast flap a little larger to account for this, or we lift the non-radiated breast more. Most of this tweaking is done at stage 2 or 3, and there is no hard-and-fast guarantee of how the radiated tissue will do. But, we try our best to give you a symmetrical result.

9. How is the fat grafting accomplished? With needles or what?

Fat grafting is done just like traditional liposuction, but instead of throwing away the fat, it gets strained of any debris, blood vessels, etc., and gets injected back into your body, just below the skin, wherever it is needed.

We only make a small incision through which we insert a cannula that gets shifted around under your skin to collect the fat cells. We make a few incisions in the donor sites that are discussed with you before your surgery and those incisions are closed with a few stitches and a little Dermabond glue on top. The strained fat is then inserted with a special bendable needle that can be shaped to follow around a breast mound or however we need it to go to inject the fat.

10. After the fat grafting, will that fat continue to replenish itself? Like if I gain weight, will my breasts get bigger?

After liposuction, fat accumulation tends to appear in areas other than sites that you have had the fat grafting from. This doesn’t mean you will never get fat in those areas again, but it often finds its way to a few different places. Your breasts will be your own tissue and fat, so if you did gain weight, you could possibly gain weight in your breasts and the same goes for losing weight. 

11. Will my C-section ledge be gone?

We try to take other abdominal scars into consideration when finding the best placement of your new “abdominoplasty” scar. By removing the tissue located on your abdomen, there is a good chance your C-section ledge will resolve, but we cannot guarantee this. It’s another one of those things that depends on the patient, and we will have a better answer for you when we do your pre-op marking.

12. When can I drive?

We don’t want you driving as long as you have drains in (breast or abdominal), which is typically 2-3 weeks. Also, if you are taking any prescription pain medication (Percocet, Dilaudid, Valium), we don’t want you driving until you have switched to taking over-the-counter medications.

We also want to ensure that you feel you can be a defensive driver and not worry that if you had to swerve out of the way, you’d hurt something. Most women sit in the back seat away from the airbag for about 2 weeks and often place a pillow between their chest and the seatbelt to help cushion the pressure from the belt itself.

13. When can I have sex?

We don’t recommend any strenuous activity for several weeks following surgery. I would plan to wait at least 2 weeks and then see what may be tolerated. You don’t want to be using your abdominal muscles for up to 6-8 weeks so you have to be mindful of your limitations. As things heal and you progress in your recovery, you may increase activity as tolerated.

14. Can you also remove the lump of scar tissue from the four drains that were put in my rib area by the other doctors? It makes my bra roll up, and it’s uncomfortable.

Depending on the exact location, we may be able to remove it at the first stage, but it is more likely that we will look into that at second stage as the process of harvesting and grafting the blood vessels is very time-consuming and is the main priority at that time.

15. When will I know if my nipples have to be removed?

This is really a question for your breast surgeon. If you are able to have a nipple sparing mastectomy, we cannot guarantee that your nipples will live as they can sometimes scab over and become necrotic. But, there is also a good chance they will survive. In the event that one or both of your nipples needed to be removed or did not survive, we have multiple options for nipple reconstruction.

16. Can I go ahead and get my flu shot before I have my surgery?

As I am answering this, I don’t believe it is currently flu season, and we would rather not introduce anything into your body this close to surgery. I would wait until 1-2 months after surgery.

Do you have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgery that you’d like answered from our surgical team? Ask the doctor now 

Flap Reconstruction Surgery: Important Stats and Abstract Information

If you’ve had breast cancer and are considering reconstruction surgery, it’s possible that one of the options you may be looking into is flap reconstruction surgery.

Breast reconstruction utilizing “flap” techniques are procedures where body tissue is used to reconstruct the shape of your breast after surgery. While it’s a relatively common type of reconstructive surgery these days, we feel it’s important that you should learn as much as possible about the benefits and risks, and discuss them with your doctor before you have the procedure.

That’s why we at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction are always looking for better ways to educate and inform our patients before a decision.

One way we ensure our patients have access to the latest in medicine and medical technology is to have our surgeons and staff constantly learning, researching, and writing about their findings.

In fact, some of our latest research on reconstructive flap surgery was recently submitted to the American Association of Plastic Surgeons by our Dr. Kline. This specific abstract documented the success rate of our reconstructive flap surgeries with regard to the role of autogenous microvascular breast reconstruction in the community.

Check it out…

Abstract

PURPOSE: To present the continuing role of autogenous microvascular breast reconstruction in the community

METHODS: 1393 free perforator flaps for breast reconstruction were performed by two surgeons from October, 2003 to October, 2016. All flaps were performed in two community hospitals. Types of flaps included DIEP unilateral (122 flaps), DIEP simultaneous bilateral (866 flaps), DIEP bipedicle (106 flaps), sGAP unilateral (55 flaps), sGAP simultaneous bilateral (202 flaps), iGAP unilateral (2 flaps), iGAP simultaneous bilateral (18 flaps), PAP unilateral (5 flaps), PAP bilateral (10 flaps), SIEA unilateral (3 flaps), SIEA simultaneous bilateral (2 flaps), and TFL perforator (1 flap). The series includes a large number of both immediate and delayed reconstructions, prior failed reconstructions, and patients with a history of radiation.

RESULTS: Overall flap survival rate was 98.2%. DIEP survival rate was 99.1%. sGAP survival rate was 95.7%. No primary unilateral flaps were lost, and no bilateral losses occurred. Including those patients whose initial flaps failed, 99% of patients were ultimately successfully reconstructed with autogenous tissue.

CONCLUSION: Implant-based reconstruction is an appropriate initial choice for many patients, but autogenous microsurgical reconstruction still remains an excellent option, whether as an initial choice, or for patients with a prior history of failed reconstruction. With proper preparation and institutional support, perforator flap breast reconstruction can be performed with a high degree of success in a community hospital setting.

On top of the abstract, our physicians—Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D. and James E. Craigie MD—also wrote the chapter on GAP (buttock) flaps for the book Perforator Flaps for Breast Reconstruction.

Check out the book chapter here.

As we mentioned earlier, we are passionate about continuing to learn, receive training, and interact with the scientific community to ensure we provide our patients with the safest, most advanced care.

And, while we’re doing our job to make sure we’re properly training our staff and staying up-to-date with the latest in medical technology, there’s one thing we encourage you to do as well—always ask for medical procedure stats.

Much like the abstract we provided above, your doctor should be able to provide you with stats on the procedures he or she conducts.

When patients come to us and ask questions on success rates, we can happily tell them the different percentage rates of success for the various procedures we provide. Equipping our patients with this information empowers them to make wise, educated decisions about their own health.

So, please, before you move ahead with a specific procedure, ask your doctor for the stats. If they have a high success rate with their surgeries, then you’re in the right place. If they don’t, it’s time for you to find another doctor.

We wish you the best as you move forward with any new procedure you may need!

Did you find the book chapter insightful? Let us know what you learned and what you thought was helpful to know in the comments below!

Life after Mastectomy: Prosthetic Nipples

Being diagnosed with breast cancer and facing a cancer battle can be a long, draining, and scary experience.

While women who beat cancer find themselves overjoyed and grateful, there’s still a part of having breast cancer that tends to linger—especially if they’ve had to go through a mastectomy.

While we know women feel incredibly grateful that they’ve won their battle with cancer and feel they can begin life again, it’s also very common for them to long to feel like their old selves again.

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we want all women to feel confident, radiant, and beautiful after a mastectomy, which is why we were so excited to find out about a new non-surgical solution to breast reconstruction—prosthetic nipples.

We love the product so much, we even carry demos in our office for women to try.

So, how exactly did this product come to be and how does it work?

I’m going to let breast cancer survivor and inventor Randi Johnson tell you in her own words.

Here’s her story…

After the shock of my IDC breast cancer diagnosis in 2007, I was hoping for the least invasive corrective surgery. The lump was too large for a lumpectomy, so a unilateral mastectomy was the choice I made. I had a new full-time job and didn’t want to take 6 weeks off for breast reconstruction.

The mastectomy was not very painful and I had a good recovery, but reality hit as bandages came off and I saw “my new normal” in the mirror. I’m not an especially vain person, but it was hard to feel “pretty” for my husband, even though I knew he loved me beyond the disfigurement.

I found myself wearing my prosthetic mastectomy bra to bed at night.

We happened to hear about Dr. Khouri in Miami, FL  who was doing a less invasive type of breast reconstruction surgery. There were no incisions, it was outpatient, and had a lower risk of complications. I only had to miss 3 days of work for each step (4 fat grafting sessions, for me).

Adding to the appeal, was the fact that they would take fat from tummy, thighs and anywhere else I didn’t want it and make a new breast out of it.

What’s not to love about that!

I was amazed to find that Dr. Khouri was in network for my insurance plan. There were still travel expenses etc., but somehow it all worked out.

It felt like I was growing a new breast and hardly had time to think about not having a nipple on that side, but when Dr. Khouri made an impression of my natural nipple and made up a silicone “rough draft” of a nipple for my recon side (for purpose of photos), my husband asked if he could tinker with the idea.

Dr. Khouri was very impressed with the prototype we brought back to show him a few months later. He invited us to display our Naturally Impressive nipple prosthetics as a vendor at a couple of his fat grafting conferences.

We received a great reception as well as some helpful ideas from the international breast surgeon attending.

I was part of an “MD Rounds” event at one of those Fat Graft Conferences and it was exciting to have MDs ask in disbelief (right after they heard my history). “Did you have a mastectomy?” We have heard countless similar stories from our clients about their Naturally Impressive nipples “fooling” others because they look so natural.

Now it’s become my new body image. If I have it off for a day or two, the asymmetrical image in the mirror doesn’t feel like it’s me.

We’ve been serving women through Naturally Impressive, LLC, since January 2010. As a “Mom and Pop” shop, we keep operating costs low and we also get to know many of our clients quite well. It’s an incredible joy! We love it!

No matter what option women choose regarding nipples, Naturally Impressive can be a way to “feel normal” again. For some, this is a great short-term option while waiting for tissue to settle before making a permanent choice. For others, it’s a wonderful non-surgical long-term solution.

If you or someone you care about is longing to feel normal again in the nipple department, check out our website to see the realism, variety and affordability of choices we offer.

Click here to visit the Naturally Impressive website.

You can also call Naturally Impressive, LLC, at 715-829-4488 if you have any questions.

Do you have a favorite post-mastectomy product that makes you feel confident and beautiful?

Share it with us in the comments below!

Give Yourself the Gift of Health This New Year


With the holidays behind us, it’s time to get excited and look forward to the new year ahead of us. Before we officially close out the season of giving, there is one more gift we want to talk about.

And that gift is the gift of health.

We believe that taking care of your body and being aware of your health are the keys to living a happy and healthy life. There’s no better time than right now to put yourself on the path to health and happiness as we begin a new year.

It doesn’t matter how good or poor your health currently is. There are many small lifestyle changes you can make to help ensure you’re giving your body the things it needs while also getting the medical care you need to stay happy and healthy.

The new year means starting fresh. We hope you’ll take advantage of this time to put in place a plan for the year that promotes your health and happiness.

Not sure where to start? No worries, we have a few suggestions!

Keep reading to discover a few things you can do to give yourself the gift of health this year.

Eat Healthy

Your health begins with what you put in your body.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a tasty treat every once in a while. But it’s also important to ensure that you are getting the nutrients from fresh meats (if you’re not a vegetarian), vegetables, and fruits.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes you can add to your weekly meal plan.

Go for Regular Physicals

Visiting your doctor for a yearly exam is a great way to make sure you’re in tip-top shape.
Most important, your doctor might be able to detect health problems before you notice them. And that’s important because early detection is the key to saving lives, especially for cancer patients.

You can’t go wrong with a yearly exam to make sure you’re in good health.

Get Exercise

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. It helps you build muscles, burn excess fat, and keep your heart strong.

If you’re someone who feels as if you can’t exercise, don’t worry. It’s ok to start slow. Something as simple as a walk around the block is a great place to get started.

Check out some of our favorite ways to get into an exercise routine.

Perform At-Home Breast Exams

Ladies, this one is super important!

As we mentioned before, early detection saves lives. Which is why at-home breast exams are so important, even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer.

BreastCancer.org gives a great overview on how to do an at-home breast exam. Check it out here.

Your doctor can also teach you how to do a self-exam. Ask your doctor to show you at your next appointment.

Take Note of Changes in Your Body

Nobody knows your body better than you do.

If you notice any changes—including lumps, spots, marks, bumps, rashes, or even less visible changes like unusual headaches or pains—be sure to report those changes to your doctor.

Your doctor can diagnose any health concerns and put you on the path to health and happiness.

What do you do to live a healthy life? Share with us below!

Spread Joy to Cancer Patients with Cheerful Holiday Cards

There is so much to be cheerful about during the holiday season. It’s a time where many people travel to visit loved ones, indulge in delicious food, and revel in the joy of the holiday season.

How lucky are we to be able to enjoy this time of year!

Unfortunately, there are also many people that will struggle this season due to illness or disease, like breast cancer. Many of these people will have no choice but to celebrate the holidays from the hospital.

That definitely puts a damper on all of the holiday joy and festivities.

We truly wish there was a way to bring everyone home to spend time with their loved ones during this time of year.

Sadly, there is no way we can make that possible, but we can do the next best thing…

Bring some of the holiday spirit to those who are the hospital.

Every year, thousands of people create holiday cards to share with adults and children who can’t go home for the holidays.

It may seem like a small gesture, but there is no doubt these cards bring a lot of happiness to those who receive them.

The best part is that it only takes a little bit of your time to brighten someone’s day.

So, this year, if you feel the desire to spread some cheer, we encourage you to make a few holiday cards to give to people who are in the hospital.

How to Get Involved with Sending Holiday Cards

Many hospitals conduct holiday drives during December to collect cards for their patients.

We suggest you give your local hospital a call to see if they are collecting cards. If they aren’t, they may know of other medical care facilities that are, and can get you hooked up.

Another great resource to contact would be your local community groups, like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or local charities.

These groups may already be involved with creating cards and can help you get connected.

American Cancer Society Greeting Cards

If you’re not very crafty but still want to give back, we suggest checking out the American Cancer Society greeting cards fundraiser.

Every year, the American Cancer Society sells holiday cards and the proceeds benefit cancer research.

You can purchase a variety of different cards to hand out to your family and friends this year. Or better yet, order some to hand out at your local hospital!

To check out the American Cancer Society cards and find more information, please visit their website.

American Cancer Society Greeting Cards Website

Have you ever handed out hospital holiday cards? Let us know where below!

 

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction Gives Thanks

In a few short days, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving—a time of year in which many of us stop and reflect on everything we have to be grateful for.

This year we made sure to stop and think about the many things we are grateful for at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

We’d love to share with you a few of the things we are thankful for. Check it out!

We are thankful for…

  • The opportunity to work with so many strong and courageous women who have battled breast cancer. You are an inspiration.
  • Our team of highly skilled staff and medical professionals that provide such amazing care to all of our patients.
  • The incredible breast cancer fundraising events, like the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure, that raise money for new cancer research and treatment options.
  • The friends and family that stand by our side no matter what challenges we are facing.
  • All of the technology and medical advances that help keep women healthy and thriving.
  • Our pets, for those of us that have them, that are always available for a stress-relieving and calming cuddle on the couch.
  • The fall weather and the beauty that comes with this season.
  • All of the amazing success stories that we get to hear from our patients. It is a joy to celebrate you and your health!

We could go on for days about the many things we are grateful for all year round!

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction wishes you a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. And we hope you’ll take some time this week to think about everything you are thankful for.

We’d love to hear what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Comment below!

Prevention-Palooza Charleston 2016

Prevention-Palooza is one of our favorite fall events here in Charleston.

This is the 3rd annual event hosted by the Dragon Boat Club, and it takes place on Saturday, November 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Arthur W. Christopher Center in downtown Charleston.

Prevention-Palooza is a FREE event held in partnership with Roper Hospital. Be sure to bring all of your friends and family to participate.

During this event, you will have access to health screenings, nutrition, and fitness vendors, and a fabulous keynote speaker.

You will also receive breakfast courtesy of the Dragon Boat Club. (Who can say no to a complimentary breakfast!?!)

The hope is that through education and access to medical screening, people can learn to take preventative health care measures to detect disease and illness, like breast cancer, fast.

We truly hope you’ll join us for a motivating and inspiring day of food and fitness!

Visit the Dragon Boat Charleston website or email melabriola@gmail.com to RSVP.

What’s your favorite part of Prevention-Palooza? Comment below.

Finding a Cure for Breast Cancer: How You Can Help

Photo Source:  http://www.komenminnesota.org/Komen_Race_for_the_Cure_/Photo_Gallery.htm

Photo Source: http://www.komenminnesota.org/Komen_Race_for_the_Cure_/Photo_Gallery.htm

 

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in full swing, and we are continuing our recognition at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

We hope you are, too!

There are many reasons we have an awareness month for breast cancer.

This month is a great time to celebrate breast cancer survivors, remember those who lost their battle, and come together as a community to support those who are currently fighting this awful disease.

Part of the celebration is also to hold events that help fund research to find a cure for breast cancer.

We are so grateful to the doctors and scientists who spend countless hours researching and studying for this cause.

But medical professionals and science experts aren’t the only ones who can help.

You can help find a cure for breast cancer, too!

Keep reading to see how you can contribute during National Breast Cancer Awareness Week.

Participate in Fundraising Events for Cancer

When you participate in fundraising events, you’re helping to raise money that’s used for cancer research, new medical treatments, and to help families that are in need while battling cancer.

And if that wasn’t a good enough reason to participate, fundraising events are also fun!

From races like Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure to golf outings like Swing for the Cure, there are fundraising events for everyone to enjoy.

And the best part? They are family friendly.

Get your girlfriends and family together and form a fundraising team. Check out a few more of our favorite fundraising events here.

Volunteer Your Skills for Cancer Research

If you have a medical or science background, you might be able to donate your research skills and medical expertise to help find a cure for breast cancer.

Talk to your local hospital about different opportunities for research available.

Because it’s medical research, you’re going to have to go through some testing to participate in various research programs. But if you pass the testing, doctors and scientists will be grateful to have you on board as a volunteer.

Support Someone with Cancer

If you’re unable to support finding a cure to cancer through attending fundraising events or donating your skills as a medical professional, don’t worry.

One of the best things you can do is support someone who is battling breast cancer.

If you know a family member or friend who has cancer, ask her what you can do to help. Preparing a few meals, picking up carpool duty, or cleaning her home can make a huge difference for someone with cancer.

Even something as small as a handmade card or a phone call can lift up a friend or family member who isn’t feeling well.

Don’t know anyone with cancer? That’s ok.

There are many volunteer opportunities through hospitals to help with cancer patients. Sometimes the best gift you can give is volunteer to visit with someone for an hour.

And who knows, you might even make a new friend along the way.

Reach out to your local hospital and see what you can do to help!

Are you doing anything to help find a cure for cancer?

Please comment on our Facebook page!

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Show Your Support

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction would like you to remember that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

During this month, we remember those who have lost their lives to breast cancer, support those who are battling it, celebrate those who have won their cancer battle, and do as much breast cancer awareness promotion as we can to raise funds for new research and treatments.

And we’ve certainly come a long way!

So far, in fact, that the American Cancer Society said we have approximately 2.8 million breast cancer survivors to date, thanks to new research, medical treatments, and detection technology.

Now that’s something to celebrate!

One of the ways we want to celebrate this month is by sharing one of our favorite awareness campaigns happening October 19—The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign.

What Is It?

Sponsored by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign is designed to make women aware of their breast reconstruction options.

While breast reconstruction following a mastectomy or lumpectomy is not for everyone, every woman should be informed of the options to which she is legally entitled.

This campaign aims both to educate women about their options and to provide women with the funds needed if they cannot afford breast reconstruction procedures.

How Can You Help?

The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign is supported by charitable donations. Donations of any size are always appreciated.

If you’d rather participate than provide monetary support, individuals and groups are encouraged to start a Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day event in your area.

There is no fee to participate, and ASPS offers a free Starter Guide to help plan the activities.

Another way to show your support is to become an affiliate.

Affiliates hosting a fundraising event receive a free Marketing and PR toolkit to assist in advertising. They also share their events with ASPS and all events are posted to the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day events page and all social media platforms.

Visit the site now to see how you can get involved.

Why We Love This Event

We believe every woman—whether she’s had cancer or not−deserves to feel confident and beautiful.

Thanks to this yearly event, women who are uninsured or under-insured have access to safe and timely breast reconstructive services.

And that means women have the opportunity to get the help they need to feel beautiful and confident after a battle with breast cancer.

Do you have a favorite Breast Cancer Awareness Month event?

Share it with us below!

How to Support Someone Dealing with Breast Cancer

 

Finding out your family member or friend has breast cancer is a shock. It’s sad and scary, and will most likely leave you wondering, “What can I do to help?”

The answer: There’s a lot you can do.

From making a meal to just being someone to talk to, you can make a difference in the life of someone battling breast cancer.

Keep reading to discover some of the best ways you can help.

Be a Listening Ear

Simply listen. Your loved one or friend probably has a million things running though her mind.

Being there to just listen is one of the most important things you can do.

Schedule a quiet time without any distractions to either meet up with your family member/friend or jump on the phone.

Let her direct the conversation. If she doesn’t want to talk about her diagnosis, respect that, and bring up a new topic.

It’s amazing how good someone can feel after a long talk with a person she cares about.

Bring a Meal

A cancer diagnosis often comes with many doctors’ appointments, medications, and various treatments that can be very draining.

And if your family member/friend has kids, a job, or other responsibilities, things like making a home-cooked meal can easily be pushed out the window.

Find out a few of her favorite meals and offer to bring her a meal once or twice a week. Or, if she’s the type that doesn’t accept help easily, just show up with food.

Keep in mind that she might not always be hungry thanks to medications and medical treatments.

That’s why meals that can be premade and frozen, like lasagna, are a great option. This gives the person flexibility to heat and eat food as needed.

Offer Yourself as a Chauffeur

Battling cancer is an exhausting process.

Also, treatments such as chemo can leave a person feeling sick and drained, which makes her unable to drive.

Offer to pick your friend/family member up from doctors’ appointments, offer to take her to and from the grocery or bank, or let her stay at home while you pick the kids up from school.

Driving when she is tired and doesn’t feel well is not only unpleasant, but it’s dangerous.

Give your family member/friend a hand by becoming her chauffeur.

Plan a Night Out

Sometimes it’s nice to get out and enjoy a fun activity.

If your friend/family member is feeling good, offer to take her out for a while to do something fun.

Here are a few fun ideas:

  • See a movie.
  • Go to brunch.
  • Paint pottery.
  • Take a walk in the park.
  • Splurge on a mini shopping spree.
  • Bake a delicious treat together.

It doesn’t have to be crazy. Just take a few hours to enjoy each other’s company and have some fun!

Send Cards

 It’s always special to get a card in the mail. All it takes is a simple note to make someone feel warm and fuzzy and loved.

Make a homemade card or get one from the store, and write a handwritten note. Tell a joke, share a funny story, or write words of encouragement. Better yet, send a series of cards doing all of these things.

If you live near your family member/friend, drop off notes throughout the week. Leave them on the door step or tape them to a car. Get creative!

Better yet, rally a bunch of friends in the area to leave notes/cards to show your loved one/friend that she is loved and thought of.

Whats your favorite way to support someone with breast cancer?

Share it below!