Research shows many women eligible for breast reconstruction after breast cancer are not aware of their reconstruction options. Because of this, there has been an increased effort to raise awareness of the procedure and breast cancer in general. In fact, October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign dedicated to promoting awareness of the disease. During this time, many breast cancer survivors choose to share their stories as a way to encourage other women to get screened early for breast cancer and educate them on their breast reconstruction options.
One of the most well-known advocates for breast cancer awareness is Oscar award-winning actress Angelina Jolie Pitt, who made headlines in 2013 when she announced she underwent a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery as preventive measures against breast cancer. Her story resonated with women so much that, according to a recent study, it led to an increase in breast reconstruction awareness. In this blog post, we take a closer look at these findings.
The Angelina Jolie Effect
In an op-ed article published in the New York Times, Jolie Pitt described her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after discovering she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation, which increased her risk of developing breast cancer. The actress also wrote about her breast reconstruction surgery following her double mastectomy. The piece sparked media attention worldwide.
Researchers in Austria surveyed 1,000 women between the ages 18 to 69, before and after Jolie Pitt’s public announcement. Their study found 4 percent more women became aware that breast reconstruction surgery is possible after a single or double mastectomy, while 19 percent more women were aware that reconstruction could be done during the breast-removal operation.
The researchers believe the findings shed light on the important role media coverage and celebrities play in increasing the public’s awareness on health topics.
“I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer,” Jolie Pitt wrote in the article. “It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”
About Breast Reconstruction
Research has shown that breast reconstruction surgery following mastectomy or lumpectomy can have a positive effect on a woman’s quality of life. The procedure has the potential to restore women’s self-confidence and positive self-image following mastectomy or lumpectomy and alleviate some of the psychological pain often felt following breast cancer.
If you or someone you love is considering the procedure, Burt Plastic Surgery can help. The procedure can reconstruct the shape of one or both of the breasts using implants, the patient’s own breast tissue or a combination of the two. Patients are also given the option of reconstructing their breasts at the same time as their mastectomy or lumpectomy (immediate reconstruction) or sometime after the procedure (delayed reconstruction).
If you would like to learn more about breast reconstruction, speak to one of our trusted plastic surgeons at Burt Plastic Surgery. Contact us to schedule a one-on-one consultation today.