Sandra was a healthy, middle-aged woman. She didn’t drink or smoke. She worked hard and slept well. She had no reason to think she might have breast cancer.
Partnerships are important to us here at AiRS Foundation. That’s because we know how difficult it is to raise awareness and funds for breast reconstruction. We can’t do it alone. Helping women requires teamwork and assistance from the community as a whole. The AiRS Foundation has some amazing partners who donate their time and money to helping women receive breast reconstruction after a mastectomy due to breast cancer. And this year we’ve gained one more: Oak Highlands Brewery!
A breast cancer diagnosis causes an exhausting level of emotions and fear. At AiRS Foundation, we work on a one-on-one basis with breast cancer patients, and so we know how devastating and frightening it can feel. One way we’ve found to help ease the anxiety: hearing about the experiences of other women who have fought breast cancer and learning more about the disease itself. We, the staff and advocates of the AiRS Foundation, read a lot of books about breast cancer and those affected by this diagnosis. We wanted to share the books that have been especially helpful for us and the women we work with. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, we hope these books can help you, too.
As you might expect, there are different kinds of breast reconstruction. The type of reconstruction that’s right for you might be different than the type right for a friend who’s battled breast cancer or even another family member who’s undergone a mastectomy. Reconstruction is highly dependent on your unique body.
He or she will discuss the options available and offer advice on the correct procedure. That said, it’s always helpful to be informed about your options before your consult. There are three main types of breast reconstruction: implant-based reconstruction, autologous tissue reconstruction, and a combination of the two. Here’s a brief overview of the three main types of reconstruction so you’re aware of the options available to you:
In implant-based reconstruction, the plastic surgeon restores the breast using an artificial breast implant. Breast implants are silicone bags that often contain saline (salt water) or silicone gel. The bags are specially shaped to look and feel like breasts. Implant-based reconstruction can be performed either during the mastectomy or afterward in a procedure called delayed reconstruction.
Autologous tissue reconstruction
In autologous tissue reconstruction (a.k.a. “flap” reconstruction), the entire breast is reconstructed using the patient’s body fat rather than an artificial implant. The tissue in this procedure can come from the abdomen, buttock or thighs, and consists only of fat and skin, no muscles. As with the combination option, there must be enough excess fat on the patient’s body for this option to work. Additionally, if the patient gains or loses weight after the procedure, the breasts will also grow or shrink accordingly. Flap reconstruction can similarly be undergone during the mastectomy, after the mastectomy, or in stages, during and after the mastectomy.
A combination of implant and autologous tissue reconstruction
A combination of implant and autologous tissue reconstruction involves using both tissue from the patient’s back (i.e. the latissimus dorsi muscle) and an implant to reconstruct the breast. This type of surgery requires the patient to have enough fat along the back to recreate the breast. Patients who are exceptionally thin may not be eligible for this option. Combination reconstruction can be performed during the same surgery as the mastectomy, afterward, or in stages — during and after the mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy due to cancer is often a vital step toward feeling whole again. But many women cannot afford the procedure, which can be costly. That’s why we at the AiRS Foundation offer grants for women to receive reconstruction. Applying for one of our grants for breast reconstruction is easy!
We’ve tried our best to make the application as straightforward as possible, and we have a fast return rate so you’ll know the status of your application quickly. Here’s where you can learn more about how to apply. If you are a woman in need of reconstruction, we hope to hear from you. It’s our mission to help you feel whole again!
As of this September, health insurance companies in Texas are required to cover 3-D mammograms for breast cancer screening and diagnosis. This is thanks to House Bill 1036, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law last June.