Doctors and patients unite to empower women on Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (25th November)

Australia’s third annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day on Wednesday, 25th November is set to educate and inform women about their post mastectomy reconstruction options.

The theme for this year’s BRA Day is “Knowledge is power: helping women to make an informed choice about breast reconstruction”.

“One of the most important factors in a woman’s decision-making process around reconstruction is education. The more information women have the more empowered they feel to make an informed decision,” says Associate Professor Hugh Bartholomeusz, President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

“This year in Australia more than 15,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and while many women will undergo a potentially life-saving mastectomy (the surgical removal of one or both breasts), only a minority of these will opt for a breast reconstruction, despite it being fully reimbursed under Medicare, and despite research showing a reconstruction can have positive emotional and physical benefits.

“We understand that a breast reconstruction is a very personal decision and some women will decide that it’s not for them. However, we want to ensure all women have access to accurate and unbiased information and that a simple lack of awareness is not an obstacle to having a reconstruction,” says Associate Professor Bartholomeusz.

“This BRA Day our aim is to reach as many Australian women as possible and facilitate a ‘conversation’ with plastic surgeons as well as other women who’ve experienced a breast reconstruction so they have a holistic perspective on the process – both the personal and the professional.”

A study recently published in the journal Cancer showed Angelina Jolie’s breast cancer and reconstruction in 2013 resulted in a 4% increase in the percentage of women who knew breast reconstruction is possible after mastectomy; an 11% increase in the percentage of women who knew reconstruction could be done using a woman’s own tissue; and a 19% jump in the proportion of women who knew that breast removal and reconstruction could be done during the same surgery. “The value of women sharing their stories is highlighted by the Angelina Jolie example and we encourage women to act as ‘Angelinas’ within their own communities and share their stories” says Associate Professor Bartholomeusz.

BRA Day Australia will host an Online Forum on 25th November, giving women across the country equal access and the opportunity to ask their own questions of plastic surgeons. To participate connect with BRA Day on Facebook or twitter to find out more in the lead up to the event. Or visit the website for detailed information about breast reconstruction and stories from women about their breast reconstructions.

Download media release.

Media enquiries:  Edwina Gatenby, phone  0402 130 254.