Breast Cancer Awareness

October is breast cancer awareness month and knowledge empowers women to fight a disease that affects 1 in 12 women in their lifetime.

The key to defeat this disease is early detection.  Finding and treating the cancer while it is small and before it spreads improves the odds of cure and increases options for treatment. 

Genetic testing, to identify those women with a very high risk to develop breast cancer, is now readily available in Dothan, Alabama.  Women undergo a short list of questions relating to the incidents of certain cancers within their immediate family.  Those with a certain number of positive responses are offered the opportunity for blood testing.  The two most common genetic mutations are BRCA1 and BRCA2.  A women carrier of either of these two genetic markers has an 80% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.  A carrier of either, having already being diagnosed with breast cancer in one breast, has a 40% chance of developing it in the other.  This knowledge of risk allows the patient to consider options that prevent the development of breast cancer.  Removal of both breasts reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by 87%.  Removing the non-cancerous breast in the presence of breast cancer in the opposite breast reduces the risk of subsequent breast cancer by 97%. 

Multiple options exist to reconstruct the breasts after they are removed.  Reconstruction can follow the mastectomy either immediately or months to years later.  Reconstruction can use your own tissues, implants, or a combination of both.  Modern reconstructions can give you natural, soft, and symmetrical breasts.  The breasts can be upsized or downsized.  They can be lifted back up on to your chest.  The nipple areolar complex can be surgically made or tattooed. 

Each patient is unique and a consultation with your plastic surgeon during the planning stage gives you the best chance of taking advantage of all options available to you.

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