Having to go through breast cancer can be a tumultuous time for not only the victim, but also their family and friends. For those brave women fighting the battle of cancer or those who’s mothers or relatives who have had cancer, you may be faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to undergo preventative measures such as having a Mastectomy. For those having to make this decision, sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement and reassurance.
In the summer of 2013, Angelina Jolie bravely spoke about her double mastectomy and encouraged women from around the globe to take preventative measures wherever possible. Angelina Jolie is known for her philanthropy and extensive humanitarian work, becoming an inspiration to us all, her decision to open up publicy about her double mastectomy was one the left the globe with feelings of admiration, empathy and most importantly, reassurance.
Staggering statistics show that breast cancer kills 458,000 people on a yearly basis so the decision to go public is something that may have help thousands of people. In fact, a study has shown that Angelina’s decision raised awareness of not only the potential options after a mastectomy but also the heredity link between breast cancer and genetics. Her decision led to a doubling in NHS referrals for breast cancer risk in relation to genetics.
The initial concerns over a mastectomy often centre around worries of complications and feelings of self-loathe, losing femininity and loss of sexual identity, however, other celebrities such as Christina Applegate, Sharon Osborne and Olivia Newton-John have lessened these fears, and reaffirmed that post surgery options for breast reconstruction are available. Angelina Jolie stated:
“I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”
As with any surgery, there are possible side effects of a mastectomy but the procedure can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 90%. If you choose to go ahead with the mastectomy, the option is there for breast reconstruction post-surgery and the results can look very natural. A mastectomy will mean that the surgeon removes all of the breast tissue and often they also remove the nipple and the skin covering the breast.
At point of reconstruction, your options will be discussed with you to get the most natural looking results. Usually the decision for an implant is involved with either the combination of your own tissues, or insertion of the implant to stretch your remaining skin if there is no tissue left.