For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Alexandra Holmes, EMEA Lead at MENTOR®, discusses the importance of empowering breast cancer survivors who have undergone surgery, and how Mentor is helping achieve that.
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual global campaign has done much to educate women and men on the impact of breast cancer, its risk factors and the importance of checking for signs of the disease to increase the chances of detecting and treating it as early as possible. Detecting and treating cancer, however, is only the start; those affected will require guidance on everything from after-care and counselling to breast reconstruction choices.
Between 2015 and 2020, almost eight million women had been diagnosed with breast cancer.1 Beyond puberty, breast cancer affects mostly women at any age, but rates increase in later life.1 It is therefore essential that we continue to educate the public on what is now the world’s most prevalent cancer1 – how to spot the signs and symptoms – and how to support people with breast cancer so they still feel empowered in the face of their diagnosis.
The mainstays of breast-cancer treatment are radiation therapy and surgery.1 Sometimes it is enough to remove only the tumour but depending on the size of the cancer it may be necessary for partial or full removal of one or both breasts. Besides being a constant reminder of a hugely traumatic time in someone’s life, such surgical interventions can have a devastating impact on their personal life and self-esteem. Fortunately, reconstruction or reshaping of the breasts is possible for many women following cancer surgery.
The process of reconstruction may begin at the time of the mastectomy or at a future date, months or perhaps even years later when the individual feels ready for the procedure.2 One reason for delaying reconstruction may be that the patient needs time to consider the various options available to them. Deciding on breast reconstruction is a very personal decision. However, not all women who are eligible for breast reconstruction are well informed of the options available to them.
MENTOR® is on a mission to change that.
I am proud to be part of a company that is working to educate and support people with breast cancer. From detection to treatment, we advocate for women being able to make the best decisions about their health and their bodies. People with breast cancer deserve to feel confident and safe, and at MENTOR®, when it comes to reconstructive surgery, the patient is our first priority.
Our deep brand belief is that women deserve encouragement, choice and empowerment regarding the decisions affecting their bodies. This ethos informs everything we do, from the products we make to the way we interact with our partners and patients. As you would expect from a Johnson & Johnson company, we are committed to science-based innovations and high standards of design, testing and safety. It is these principles that have earned us the respect of the breast aesthetics community worldwide.
Above all else, patient safety is our priority. We work closely with industry groups, physicians, scientists and health authorities from around the globe to monitor reports, understand risks, and help women with breast cancer ﬁnd their unique sense of mental, social and physical well-being.
Studies have shown that the life quality of patients who undergo breast reconstruction surgery is higher than that of patients who don’t receive it – so much so that this type of surgery constitutes an important surgical part of breast cancer treatment in western countries.3 Many people may think breast surgery is just a cosmetic procedure. However, what many don’t realise is that it can have a transformative effect on the lives of women who have been through cancer treatment, but it is a big and frequently daunting step.
For breast cancer awareness month, I am calling for more transparency and more comprehensive education for patients with breast cancer, whether it’s choices during treatment or reconstruction options.
To find out more information on breast reconstruction surgery, please visit: Breastimplantsbymentor Reconstruction
- World Health Organization. Breast cancer. 2021. Available from: here. Accessed September 2022
- National Cancer Institute. 2017. Available from: here. Accessed September 2022
- Wang X, Zhu K, Ren L, et al. Quality of life and related risk factors after breast reconstruction in breast cancer patients. Gland Surg. 2020;9(3):767-774.
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