Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women, but how much do you really know about it? Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are some critical facts about breast cancer and what you can do to help prevent it.
Key Facts About Breast Cancer
The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. has provided these important breast cancer facts:
- One in eight American women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis during her lifetime.
- Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death due to cancer for women – every 13 minutes, one woman will die of breast cancer.
- Even men can get breast cancer – over 2,00 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
- There are more than 3.3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today.
- Breast cancer death rates have been declining since 1990 due to improved treatments, increased awareness, and better screening for early detection.
While some of these facts may seem disturbing or threatening, the most significant are the last two. With millions of breast cancer survivors and declining mortality rates, you can have hope for a long and healthy life.
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This month is all about increasing breast cancer awareness, but for those women who have defeated the Big C
, the next step after a mastectomy is often breast reconstruction.
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Tattoos that need to be removed upon later reflection are nothing new. In the twilight of the punk age, however, more unusual modifications have begun appearing in plastic surgeons’ offices. Many younger clients are seeking to reverse generational fashion statements that seem regrettable in hindsight.
, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle
, interviewed one such individual. 21-year-old Oakland resident Colton Tidwell (not the person pictured to the right), had his ears modified with disc earrings to the extent that he “could fit a golf ball through the hole in his earlobe.” This remnant of his teenage years caused problems later in life:
“I went a little too far with it… My body had become a bumper sticker… It bothered me that people could take one look at me and think they knew what I liked or didn’t like.”
Tidwell often found himself tucking his drooping earlobes
under a baseball cap in order to avoid embarrassment. After having the surgery, which took 30 minutes, he was able to get a new job at a bank, and was happy that his ears had been fixed.
Body Modification Reversal: A Growing Niche
Some plastic surgeons have emerged as niche experts in body modification reversal. Dr. David Kahn, a plastic surgeon in San Francisco who repaired Tidwell’s ears, has worked on half a dozen stretched earlobes over the last two years. Dr. Haresh Yalamanchili, a plastic surgeon in Houston, has performed at least 14 and has become notorious as “the guy who does ears.” To fix a stretched earlobe, surgeons typically make tiny incisions to release the hanging portion. Then they repair the ear’s surface to make it look natural. Videos of the procedure can be seen on YouTube, although these are not for the faint of heart.
“I don’t regret doing it,” Tidwell told the Chronicle about the stretching. “And I don’t regret fixing it, either. You learn something from all of it. It put it in perspective for me: Whatever you do, especially if it’s to your own body, it really matters.”
(Picture source: Wikimedia Commons, Х Рулон Х Обоев Х
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Patients often associate several pluses with breast reconstruction surgery, according to a new study
The study, which was conducted at the University Health Network Breast Restoration Program at the University of Toronto, asked women about the procedure three weeks after surgery, and again three months after. What it found was that even three weeks out, when healing was still taking place, is that many patients reported an improvement in their overall well-being.
Even if some patients experienced complications following their procedure, which were remedied, many still felt the surgery had improved their lives.
What was interesting, however, is that the type of reconstruction the patients chose affected how they felt about the surgery and their healing. A common breast reconstruction option
is to use implants to recreate the breast. This procedure generally has a shorter recovery time than other breast reconstruction options, but may require implant revision within several years. The second, more involved breast reconstruction
option is to use tissues from the patient’s own body, such as the stomach.
Patients who selected a tissue-based breast reconstruction option experienced a longer recovery, as well as weakened abdominal muscles. This weakening of the stomach muscles is an expected side effect, but some patients feel it can inhibit everyday functions, even like getting out of bed in the morning.
To remedy this, the researchers suggested that more should be done to make patients aware of the side effects of tissue-based reconstruction. This would include the patient working with a physiotherapist, to help them regain use of the stomach muscles.
Even with these new findings, the researchers stress the importance of finding a breast reconstruction option that fits with the patient’s lifestyle. What is ideal for one woman, may not work for the next.
To learn more about your breast reconstruction options in Denver
, please join the mailing list
of plastic surgeon Dr. Mouchantat.
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After his daughter went through her own breast cancer experience, one plastic surgeon gained new insight into how to care for his patients, as he told savannahnow.com
Plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Laughlin had been treating patients who requested breast reconstruction
, as well as a host of cosmetic surgeries for more than 25 years when he learned of his own daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis. From his years in practice, he already had an understanding of the type of breast cancer experience a woman can go through, from diagnosis to reconstruction, but this life-changing event gave him a new perspective, he says.
After her breast cancer experience, his daughter Julie has been a survivor for eight years, but throughout the ordeal, Dr. Laughlin says he wanted to make sure she had the best care possible, since her family lived too far away for her to be treated locally. To this end, he kept in close contact with Julie’s physicians, listening to their recommendations and helping her understand the options.
Some of the tips Dr. Laughlin gave Julie, and those he may give others going through a similar breast cancer experience were to listen to all of the recommendations of specialists and do her own research. He also stressed the importance of bringing a family member to all consultations because the amount of information can be overwhelming.
Now that Julie has beaten breast cancer, Dr. Laughlin says he has learned some valuable takeaways from the breast cancer experience that he can use to help his patients in the future.
He says he better understands how families can feel going through countless office visits and procedures. Dr. Laughlin knows the importance of working with each patient individually, allowing her to ask whatever questions she needs to. He also understands the importance of the entire medical team (and family) in helping each patient through her own breast cancer experience.
“This whole experience has made me even more understanding and compassionate and, hopefully, a better plastic surgeon,” Dr. Laughlin says.
To learn more about your options for breast reconstruction in Denver
, please contact Denver plastic surgeon
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UK plastic surgeons are worried that a new tax on plastic surgery could have a negative impact, according to WebMD
Currently in the UK, a plastic surgery tax only exists on non-surgical treatments like Botox
and laser treatments, a fact that plastic surgeons take no issue with. (In the UK, a VAT tax or “Value Added Tax” is somewhat similar to sales tax in the US in that consumers must pay it on top of the price for a good or elective service.)
Lawmakers in the UK, though, may soon examining whether a plastic surgery tax should apply to elective cosmetic surgeries, like breast augmentation
. In the US, patients already pay sales tax on elective plastic surgeries, but not medically-necessary procedures, which are often billed through insurance.
Some plastic surgeons in the UK are beginning to speak out against a possible review in the application of VAT, which may cause patients to have to pay a plastic surgery tax when they previously did not need to.
Current laws regarding VAT tax stipulate that procedures are tax exempt when the “protection, maintenance or restoration” of health is the main goal. A handful of plastic surgeons argue that changing any of these tax laws could put many patient’s surgical desires in a gray area.
Former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Dr. Douglas McGeorge says the common image of plastic surgery is mega-celebrities casually undergoing elective procedures. Rather, he argues, it is members of the general public who choose plastic surgery to improve small aspects of themselves for a positive result.
McGeorge uses the image of an older worker undergoing facial rejuvenation
to help make themselves more competitive in the workplace. He sees the difficulty in distinguishing between what is a functional improvement and what is purely cosmetic.
In response to the worry of some plastic surgeons regarding a new plastic surgery tax, the UK government says they currently have no plans to revise the VAT for cosmetic surgeries.
“Medical treatment for purely aesthetic reasons has been, and continues to be, liable to VAT at the standard rate,” it said in a statement.
To learn more about options for financing your plastic surgery in Denver, please contact
plastic surgeon Dr. Mouchantat.
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Body contouring after weight loss may not even be on the radar for some weight loss patients, according to Reuters
Oftentimes after a patient has undergone bariatric surgery which results in dramatic weight loss, they come face to face with the reality of loose skin. When the body has lost such a great amount of weight, the skin has often lost its elasticity and cannot conform to the new, slimmer body shape. Because of this body contouring after weight loss
is often necessary for patients to regain ease in their lives.
Plastic surgeons from the ASPS, however, have found that patients may not often know about procedures for body contouring after weight loss or may not be able to afford them. In a paper he presented last month at the annual ASPS conference, plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Spector shared the results of a recent survey he conducted.
According to Spector, nearly 300 patients participated in the survey. Spector found that only about a quarter of the patients who underwent bariatric surgery discussed options for body contouring with their surgeon prior to the bariatric procedure. Just more that 10% of patients went through with body contouring after weight loss.
The main reasons patients gave for not undergoing body contouring after weight loss? Being unaware of their options or the cost of the potential procedure. If they had been better informed, nearly 40% of the patients said they may have made a different decision about body contouring.
Though body contouring after weight loss is categorized by most health insurance providers as a cosmetic procedure, plastic surgeons often regard it as reconstructive. They may compare it to breast reconstruction
Loose skin after dramatic weight loss can result in a range of health issues for patients. The folds can become infected or develop skin rashes and it can get caught in tight spaces. Patients with loose skin after dramatic weight loss also have difficulty exercising and finding clothing that fits their new frame.
To learn more about body contouring after weight loss
, we encourage you to join the mailing list of Denver plastic surgeon
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Photo by Francine Orr, courtesy the Los Angeles Times
Surgeons are often regarded as giving a helping hand to reconstructive patients. For Emily, a 26-year-old Californian who recently underwent a hand transplant, according to the Los Angeles Times
, this could not be more true.
This process, in some ways is a much more advanced version of hand surgery
, which aims to correct hands and fingers that have suffered trauma or a birth defect. Following hand surgery, patients often experience not only increased mobility, but also improved aesthetic appearance, both of which can positively affect many aspects of their lives.
Though Emily is only expected to gain about 60% of the mobility of a normal hand, her spirits seem up near 100%.
“About a week after the accident, my mom said, ‘You can be the kind of person who says ‘Woe is me’ and gives up, or you can say, ‘This sucks, but I’m moving on.’ I chose that one,” Emily said of her attitude.
Unlike what one might expect, Emily’s new donor hand, which her physical therapists are working to get Emily to recognize as her own, is not attached with a circular scar around her wrist. Rather, it is attached using a scar that extends partway down her forearm and then back up to the wrist. Much like techniques that plastic surgeons use for scar revision
, this asymmetrical scar greatly improves mobility.
Despite being early in her journey toward gaining more everyday use of her hand, Emily is pushing forward, maintaining her drive.
“The minute you tell me I can’t do something, I do it,” Emily said.
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Photo by Pioter Fliter, courtesy Jewish Journal
Being a young doctor may seem daunting enough, but for plastic surgeon Dr. Rania El Hativ, couple that with also being the first female in your field out of a population of more than 7.5 million.
29 year old, Dr. El Hativ is the first female Israeli plastic surgeon, according to Jewish Journal
, a distinction she finds both encouraging and a responsibility. With that comes carrying the weight of speaking for her patients and showing that plastic surgery stretches far beyond cosmetic procedures, El Hativ said.
El Hativ says the challenge of repairing traumas like burns, tumors and cleft palates, among others, is inspiring to her. As an artist, El Hativ says she is able to combine the medical with the aesthetic to help her reconstructive
One such patient was a child who was born with a cleft palate. Three months after El Hativ performed the surgery, the child returned for a check up and El Hativ said there was no evidence of the cleft palate.
“I suddenly understood what I had done for her and how her life was transformed by this surgery,” El Hativ said.
For now, as El Hativ focuses her attention on helping reconstructive patients regain something they once thought was lost, she also works to educate her community about plastic surgery.
“They don’t know that there are so many other things we can do to help change people’s lives,” El Hativ said.
Among the reconstructive surgeries
performed by plastic surgeons are also breast reconstruction
after a mastectomy and tissue expansion, which works to create excess tissue as part of a procedure.
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Women who have undergone breast lipomodeling should not encounter any issues when submitting to a mammogram, a study by the ASPS
The study, which was published in March, examined women who had undergone breast lipomodeling as an alternative to more traditional implant-based breast augmentation
. It found that 16 months after the procedure, more than half of the women displayed no abnormalities that would cause an issue on a mammogram. Of the women who did show any abnormalities, they were minor issues like scarring or small calcifications.
The study also compared mammograms for women both before and after breast lipomodeling and found no significant differences in the mammogram results.
Breast lipomodeling was originally introduced as a means for breast reconstruction
following a mastectomy. In the cosmetic procedure, your plastic surgeon would use liposuction to remove excess fatty deposits from a donor site on your body, like the hips or thighs. After it has been purified, your plastic surgeon then uses lipomodeling techniques to inject the fat into your breasts, giving them volume and improving the shape.
While the results of the ASPS study are only preliminary, they bode well for the continued adoption of breast lipomodeling in the plastic surgery breast augmentation canon.
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