HELD annually on October 19, Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day), promotes education, awareness and access for women considering post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.
This year Mount Isa woman, Erin Wallace shares her journey of her reconstruction and why she felt it was the right choice for her.
After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015, Ms Wallace undertook a risk assessment and realised she had a one in four chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer throughout her life. Ms Wallace made the decision to have a preventative mastectomy to reduce her chance.
After the surgery, she had gone from 25 per cent to eight per cent (below the national average of 13 per cent) and assessed her options of having breast reconstruction.
Ms Wallace said it was easier to make her decision knowing her mother had already undergone breast reconstruction .
“It was easier for me to make the decision knowing mum had just gone through it and that she was happy with her results,” Ms Wallace said.
“Even though I still weighed up every possibility, talked to doctors, specialists, surgeons and researched.
“Several factors weighed up my decision. One day my partner and I hope to have a family and it did form part of my decision to have the mastectomy and the reconstruction surgery now, before I had any other commitments and I could take the time off now to recover.”
With only 14 per cent of woman choosing this avenue, Ms Wallace wanted to help woman understand the procedure.
“It is a two stage process. The first stage included a plastic surgeon using tissue expanders to stretch the skin and the muscle to make a pocket again and stage two is the removal of the expanders and the placement of permanent implants,” she said.
“It isn’t for everyone but BRA Day is to raise awareness that this service is available. For woman who are considering it, do your research and talk to your GP or specialists beforehand.
“For me I haven’t breast fed so I had no attachment to them in that sense. Reconstruction wasn’t a loss for me it was me gaining my life back.”
To participate connect with BRA Day on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BraDayAustralia.