The beginning of October marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! This is an important month on our calendar, as it’s a time that we dedicate to breaking down stigma and questions around breast health.
Breast cancer continues to be one of the most common cancers Australian women face, but survival rates continue to reach phenomenal highs! Mode Plastic Surgery is dedicated to the women that have battled breast cancer and face the new challenge of regaining the life they knew before diagnosis.
Monitoring your Breasts
Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:
- A lump or thickening in the breast, upper chest or armpit (you might feel the lump but not see it)
- Swelling of all or parts of the breast
- ‘Dimpling’ or a change in your breast’s skin texture.
- A change in the colour of the breast – ( it may look red or inflamed)
- A change to the nipple, for example it has become inverted.
- Rash, colouring or crusting around the nipple
- Any unusual liquid (discharge) from your nipple(s)
- Changes in size or shape of the breast
On its own, pain in your breasts is not usually a sign of breast cancer, however be one the look out for for constant pain.
Noticing an unusual change doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer, and most breast changes are not because of cancer, HOWEVER it’s important to get checked by your GP.
Diagnosis and Resources
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be a shocking and confusing experience for many people and their loved ones. However, the support and information that has been provided by reputable Australian institutions can provide you comfort in knowing that there is assistance out there for coping with cancer and its following recovery.
Cancer Council and Breast Cancer Network Australia have great resources to provide emotional and practical support for people affected by cancer, such as transport to treatment services, helplines and much more.
Cancer Australia also has fantastic information on managing the physical and emotional changes following cancer, as well as information about finding support for people that have been impacted by cancer.
Below are the links to some of these resources, so that you can copy and paste the link and find the services that speak to your needs.
Dr Aggarwal is fellowship trained in the world’s best plastic surgery centres in both autologous (own tissue) and implant based reconstruction. In fact Dr Aggarwal was selected as the first Australian plastic surgeon to complete the University of Pennsylvania Microsurgery Fellowship, the best microsurgery fellowship in USA and perhaps the world. During his time there he completed over 200 free flaps as primary operator, many of these in breast reconstruction. Dr Aggarwal brings his experience from low morbidity high volume world centres to Sydney, and since returning from overseas has reconstructed many women after breast cancer surgery. This is why a large number of our patients are cancer survivors, all pursuing a surgeon with extensive knowledge and experience in breast reconstruction.
Dr. Aggarwal specializes in what is called a DIEP flap reconstruction; where the fat, skin, and blood vessels are cut from the wall of the lower belly and moved up to your chest to rebuild your breast. Breast reconstruction using DIEP or msTRAM flap can be:
- immediate (at the time of mastectomy); or
- delayed (after mastectomy and other treatment such as chemo and radiotherapy)
This is considered the Rolls-Royce of Breast Reconstruction. Patients who have had it want to tell the world about it, because it offers advantages unmatched by other forms of reconstruction:
- The reconstructed breast feels soft and natural like a normal breast because it is built from your own tissue
- If you were to put on weight the reconstructed breast will add on weight and vice versa.
- The reconstructed breast will sag with age mimicking a normal breast
- It is possible to mimic the shape of a larger, ptotic (saggy) breast which is impossible with implant based reconstructions
- There are no long term risks and complications of implants, and no future repeat operations to exchange implants.
- No risk of BIA-ALCL
- Immediate autologous reconstruction can be difficult to tell from a breast lift or reduction when completed.
Dr. Aggarwals knowledge in the field combined with the passionate care that our team provides ensures that the women that put their trust in us to reconstruct their breast move past this hiccup in their lives with a regained confidence. Dr Aggarwal offers breast reconstruction at the SAN, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and also at RPAH and POWH/RHW.
If you would like to read more about the reconstruction procedures we provide you can read more here:
Breast cancer is a difficult experience to go through, but is no longer the death sentence it used to be. With the right support, information, and recovery plan, you will be able to get back to living the life that you love. The team at Mode have heard it countless times that reconstruction gives you back a piece of yourselves. Our work is one of recreating confidence and giving women back the lives they deserve
“Once I had the breast reconstruction it gave me my life back.. I can go and do my passions that I love. I love to dance, and I couldn’t do that before.” – Denise