Group raising awareness about breast reconstructive surgery

Group raising awareness about breast reconstructive surgery options

Posted:
BRA Day USA is October 16. (source: BRA Day USA) BRA Day USA is October 16. (source: BRA Day USA)
Dr. Joseph Chun says each year, nearly 150,000 women learn they will undergo a mastectomy due to breast cancer, but seven out of 10 women are never told about their reconstruction options. Dr. Joseph Chun says each year, nearly 150,000 women learn they will undergo a mastectomy due to breast cancer, but seven out of 10 women are never told about their reconstruction options.
Breast cancer survivor Libby Gaylor of Knoxville has had four reconstructive surgeries. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer two and a half years ago. Breast cancer survivor Libby Gaylor of Knoxville has had four reconstructive surgeries. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer two and a half years ago.

By LORI TUCKER
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - October 16 is the second annual National BRA Day. BRA stands for Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.

If you've had a mastectomy following breast cancer and your doctor did not inform you that your insurance company must pay for breast reconstruction surgery as well, you're not alone.

The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act, passed in 1998, mandates that patients' insurance companies cover costs involving breast reconstruction surgery.

Dr. Joseph Chun, a Knoxville Plastic Surgeon, and other members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are organizing and promoting BRA Day USA to create awareness for breast cancer patients' options for breast reconstruction following mastectomy.

He says each year, nearly 150,000 women learn they will undergo a mastectomy due to breast cancer, but seven out of 10 women are never told about their reconstruction options.

"There's lots of awareness now about breast cancer, " Dr. Chun said. "There's less awareness about breast cancer reconstruction."

Rebuilding the breasts often involves one or more operations, and there are different types of reconstructive surgery.

Breast cancer survivor Libby Gaylor of Knoxville has had four. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer two and a half years ago.

"I realized early on that I would have to have several surgeries, so we kind of had a game plan," said Gaylor.

Dr. Chun says a focus of this year's BRA Day is the team approach.

"It's important," he says, "that people are aware that it's a team of doctors and a team of specialists that will help take care of you through this breast cancer treatment."

"You really want somebody that you can talk to, and they will listen, because it's your body," Gaylor emphasized.

For more information on BRA Day events and awareness, go to www.bradayusa.org.

For more on mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, go to www.cancer.org.

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