The days and weeks following a breast cancer diagnosis can be very stressful. Women can be overwhelmed with emotions and the decisions that need to be made. One of those decision points is often breast reconstruction surgery.
Nicole Jackson, of Hartland, Wis., faced this decision in December 2014, after being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma, or cancer in the milk ducts.
“I really didn’t know what my options were,” Nicole said. “That’s why it was nice that my oncologist referred me to a plastic surgeon.”
“We sat down and talked through all the different options, including the various methods for reconstruction along with timing options,” Nicole said.
Nicole had a double mastectomy and opted to have both breasts reconstructed through a surgery called DIEP flap at the same time.
“They take fat tissue and blood vessels from my body and use that to rebuild my breasts, which was a great option for me,” she said.
The Plastic Surgery Center, as part of an academic medical center, brings together teams of specialists, including board-certified plastic surgeons. It provides women with appropriate breast reconstruction options and ensures each woman understands her personal journey.
“They meet with the oncologist, the surgical oncologist, and then they meet with us,” said Deanne Walker-DuPree BSN, RN, clinic nurse manager at the Plastic Surgery Center. “We offer them different choices depending on their treatment.”
A woman may ask herself: “Why have another surgery?” “Is there a right and a wrong time to have reconstructions?” “What choices do I have available for reconstructive surgery?”
These are some of the questions you can have answered on BRA Day, a free, annual event to help women learn more about reconstruction.
“Some of the procedures we offer for breast reconstruction are innovative, and a lot of people are unaware of their options,” Walker-DuPree said.
During BRA Day, the plastic surgery team will give presentations about advanced procedures. Women can learn more about options and speak with a plastic surgeon. They can also ask questions and discuss concerns with other breast cancer survivors who have had reconstruction.
Women facing a decision about breast reconstruction surgery, for themselves or a loved one, are encouraged to attend. The event is on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Mezzanine of the Clinical Cancer Center on the Froedtert Hospital campus, located at 8800 W. Doyne Ave., from 3:30 to 7 p.m.