Getting Back That Evening Dress Look
Breast cancer could never make the vibrant young women of YSC any less beautiful—we all know that. However, we also know that body image remains one of the major challenges many young women with breast cancer face. That makes the option of reconstructive breast surgery an especially important decision for us.
A mastectomy can hit hard: the loss of a breast affects young women emotionally and can challenge our femininity and sense of ourselves sexually. Many women choose reconstructive surgery to help regain the body image they had before their surgery. It’s also completely fine to choose not to have reconstructive surgery. Whatever you decide, though, know that together we’re strong enough to keep smiling at the image in our mirrors.
The New You—a lot Like the Old You
What Reconstruction Is
In breast reconstruction, your curves can come back: this surgery restores the appearance of a breast removed by a mastectomy. A surgeon rebuilds it, giving your breast about the same size and shape it originally had—or a new size and shape you desire.
Women turn to reconstruction to help achieve a handful of related goals:
- Balance: Reconstruction can help give you back your body’s beautiful symmetry: Your breasts will look balanced in a swimsuit or bra. Though you will likely still notice a difference nude, you can feel comfortable in most outfits.
- Contour: Regain your natural breast contour.
- Body image: Reconstruction can help you maintain or regain a positive body image, strong self esteem, and a confident sense of sexuality and femininity. Realize that it can’t always change these things, especially if some issues predate your mastectomy. But if you and your loved ones have realistic expectations, you have a good chance of feeling better and more confident.
Who Can Do It
Most women who have a mastectomy—as long as they’re healthy enough for surgery—can have breast reconstruction. Women who have lumpectomies usually don’t need reconstruction, unless their surgery removed a significantly large part of the breast.
Plastic surgeons perform most breast reconstructions, though other surgeons with specific specialties can also do it.
Making Your Decision
Undergoing breast reconstruction is a sensitive decision—you should consider many factors. Make sure you know as much as possible about yourself, your cancer, the procedures available, and your doctors’ advice and abilities before you decide. Give yourself as much time as you need.
- Learn more about the types of procedures and factors to consider here.
- Check it out: YSC contributed to Cancer Support Community's comprehensive guide, Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Breast Reconstruction. Order or download for free!
- You can also find a wealth of more in-depth information at some of our peer sites: