Advice for newly diagnosed patients
Advice for the newly diagnosed
Zeineh recommends choosing a surgeon you’re comfortable with and who is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery.
“It is important for the patient to be fully informed about her options in breast reconstruction in order to choose the pathway that fits into her life and will achieve the desired outcome,” said Zeineh.
Asked what they want newly diagnosed women to know, all the women interviewed for this story agree that these decisions are intensely personal. They should be made based on what you want for your body. It’s not a decision you should make for anyone else or out of fear of what others may think.
As a journalist, Guthrie has spoken to women who were pressured into getting reconstruction.
Others awoke from surgery with pockets of excess skin for future reconstruction — even though they had chosen to remain flat.
“Some surgeons don’t trust or respect women’s choices. They’re seen as incapable of making solid decisions about their bodies. That is happening. I don’t think they’re necessarily malicious. It’s the cultural indoctrination of paternalism and misogyny in the world of medicine,” said Guthrie.
For the best results, she suggests seeking a surgeon whose primary specialty is breast surgery.
And take your time.
“Often women are met with a sense of urgency to make all these decisions in the first few weeks. Most breast cancers are not that dire. You have a little bit of time to make some decisions and reconstruction is something you can revisit. When it happened to me, I didn’t immediately decide to be flat for the rest of my life. But I put reconstruction on the shelf because I really just wanted to get through cancer, get on the other side, and think clearly about my options,” she said.
“If reconstructing your breasts feels like something that would give you a sense of sexiness and femininity and power in your body to move through the world the way you want to move through it, then by all means have reconstruction. The same with going flat,” said Guthrie.
Video: Breast Cancer Advice for Newly Diagnosed Patients
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