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Breast Reconstruction: Breast cancer surgery doesn’t have to change your self image

Breast Reconstruction: Breast cancer surgery doesn’t have to change your self image

Dr. Kirsty Usher Boyd and Dr. Nicolas Guay

Today, Wednesday, October 17th, is National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA day).

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes. It is projected that roughly 22,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.

When a woman receives this diagnosis, many aspects of her physical, emotional, and sexual wholeness are threatened. The fear of having a breast removed immediately springs to mind.

In an effort to reduce the emotional and physical impact of breast cancer surgery, The Ottawa Hospital has developed an innovative Breast Reconstruction Program to offer a range of reconstructive options for women needing surgical treatment of their breast cancer. This program involves the collaboration of a large team at The Ottawa Hospital, including the staff members of the Women’s Breast Health Centre, general surgeons, plastic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and many ancillary health-care staff.

There are various methods of reconstruction such as different mastectomy options (skin-sparing, nipple-sparing), immediate and delayed reconstruction, implant reconstruction, tissue reconstruction, and nipple and areola reconstruction. You will have a chance to discuss these options with your surgeon and decide together which choice is best for you.

One of the options being given to patients is oncoplastic breast surgery, a specialized technique of breast surgery that not only removes the entire tumour from the patient’s breast completely and safely, but also tries to preserve the shape of the original breast.

At The Ottawa Hospital, we are committed to restoring a patient’s image and self-assurance, and improving the quality of care they receive.


Kirsty Usher Boyd, M.D., F.R.C.S.(C)
Division of Plastic Surgery, The Ottawa Hospital
Assistant Professor – University of Ottawa


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