'BRA Day' held to learn about breast reconstruction surgery
Jan Sims, CTV London
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 6:01PM EDT
The numbers may surprise you. Thirty per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will need a mastectomy, yet only one in ten will opt for breast reconstruction surgery.
On Wednesday, medical experts and patients are gathering in London to help women better understand their options.
Wendy Vlasic finds serenity in being outdoors. She's a breast cancer survivor who opted for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy.
"My experience with breast reconstruction has been a bit of a rollercoaster. However, I’m a huge advocate.”
Vlasic will be part of a panel of women sharing their experiences as part of Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day- or ‘BRA’ Day - at St. Joseph's Health Care.
Margo Betteger Hahn, a nurse with the Norton & Lucille Wolf Breast Care Centre, says it’s helpful for people to gain first-hand knowledge.
"There are certain procedures that involve tissue expansion and people sometimes hear that it's horribly painful and women that have had the lived experience are able to talk about that realistically."
BRA Day began in 2011 in Toronto as a way to bring together patients and practitioners, and it's grown very quickly to include events in 25 countries.
Recent attention on breast cancer and surgery was sparked by movie star Angelina Kolie's disclosure about her experience with breast cancer.
The head of plastic surgery at St. Joseph's, Dr. Doug Ross says surgical procedures are constantly evolving.
"There have been a lot of refinements in the use of a woman's own tissue, such that where we take the tissue from - typically the tummy - is less and less of a ‘hit’ let's call it on how the tummy looks and works and so on.”
Vlasic hopes that sharing her story will help other breast cancer survivors make an informed decision.
"Being aware is half the battle and I think knowing what your choices are, then saying that's not what I want to do or that is what I want to do."
BRA Day will also be live streamed at: www.bra-day.com