Breast cancer survivor: Reconstructive surgery helped me ‘feel like myself’ again

RICHMOND, Va. -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but some doctors are also thinking about BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day on Oct. 17.

Those types of procedures can help women begin to feel like themselves again after breast cancer surgery.

Sara Arthur got the news she had feared exactly one year ago. That is when the mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer following a routine mammogram.

Sara Arthur

Sara Arthur

Arthur’s cancer was caught early, but she ended up having a double mastectomy because of her family history. Her dad's four sisters all battled breast cancer, so Arthur did not want to take any chances.

The same day of her surgery in May, she also opted to have reconstructive surgery.

"I definitely wanted to do reconstructive surgery," Arthur said. "I'm still relatively young and I definitely wanted to feel like myself after the process was over."

Those are the kind of stories Dr. Andrea Pozez, Division Chair of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery at VCU Massey Cancer Center, hears often.

Pozez said reconstructive surgery restores a patient back to their best self.

“That may be with an implant or may not acquire an implant. It may be moving their tissue from one anatomic location to another,”  Pozez explained.

To help women know their options, VCU Massey Cancer Center is hosting BRA Day to connect women with support groups and to other women who have had the surgery before.

Virginia's first ever BRA Day or Breast Reconstructive Awareness Day is Oct. 17 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 804-402-5006 or email valentina.lucas@vcuhealth.org.

Reba Hollingsworth and Stephanie Rochon

Reba Hollingsworth and Stephanie Rochon

On the 6th of the month, CBS 6 and VCU Massey Cancer Center remind women to contact their buddy to remind them to conduct a monthly breast self-exam. If it is time, you should also schedule an annual clinical breast exam and mammogram, which are key to early detection.

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