Breast Cancer, Genetics and Breast Reconstruction

2 November 2015
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bc3The “Big C”, cancer, probably the most terrifying words anyone can ever hear.  American’s are constantly being bombarded with endless information on what causes it or what keeps a person from getting it.  One of the most common forms women is breast cancer.  With increased awareness, survival rates have vastly improved, recovery support communities are available and women have the option to rebuild their breast through reconstruction surgery.

The Facts.

Cells in the body that begin to grow out of control and change are diagnosed as cancer.  A lump or mass can form as with most types of cancers and that is identified as the tumor.  Depending on where the tumor began  to develop, determines the type or name of the cancer.   The breast tissue made up of glands for milk production (lobules).  The ducts that connect the nipple to the lobules is where the breast cancer starts.  Fatty, connective and lymphatic tissue is what the remaining part of the breast is comprised of.   Typically, the cancer is detected during routine screenings called mammograms or CBE (clinical breast exam) before the symptoms have even advanced.  Fortunately, most masses or lumps found during exams turn out benign; meaning they have not grown, spread, are not cancerous or life threatening.  About 12 percent of women in the general population will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives. (National Cancer Institute of National Institute of Health).

Women that have a history of breast cancer now have the option for genetic testing to determine whether or not they carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation that indicates possible future breast cancer.  Women have the option of double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.  Recently, media attention has turned to numerous actresses and public figures that have undergone this procedure.  These women are all advocating early detection and testing which can GREATLY reduce the chance of developing cancer. bc2

Who are these women?

Angelina Jolie

One of Hollywood’s most iconic actresses, winner of 3 Golden Globe awards, child activist and lets not forget the wife of Brad Pitt. Jolie opted for the genetic testing which uncovered that she did carry the gene.  She underwent a double mastectomy with breast reconstruction reducing her chance of getting cancer from 90% down to less than 5%.  Jolie is very outspoken about her decision and advocates to all women so they can be aware of their options.

Wanda Sykes

Known for her outrageously sidesplitting personality, comedian-actress Wanda Sykes got serious when she went in for a cosmetic breast reduction that exposed the gene.  Sykes appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and told her story about getting her double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. Then she jokes, “At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float, it’s a party. [But] I was real hesitant about doing this, because I hate walking. I got a lot of [cancer] walks coming up.”

Sharon Osbourne

Wife of one of heavy metals most famous musicians Ozzy Osbourne, mother of three, and host of “The Talk” tested positive for the gene opting for a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction.  Sharon tells “CBS This Morning” that “I didn’t want to take the pressure of every time I would feel a pain or anything, I would be ‘this is it, this is it!’ And when you have the gene, you have to have mammograms more, so it’s like, ‘No, I can’t take it’.”  Osbourne has now dramatically lowered the chance of ever getting breast cancer.

bc1 (1)No matter what your age, getting yearly screenings and mammograms are necessary.  Do your research and ask questions when looking for the right Doctor.  A great website to visit for information on mammograms and breast reconstruction options is http://www.realself.com.  If you find yourself in need of breast reconstruction options you can learn more about Leif Rogers, MD FACS at http://leifrogersmd.com/about/ .  Dr. Leif Rogers has received grants from institutions, his research is published in several medical journals and he specializes in breast reconstruction with a specific concentration on microsurgery a fundamental key for this type of operation.

If you have a history of breast cancer or considering breast reconstruction, please do not hesitate to call us with any questions, concerns and to book your consult with Dr. Leif Rogers and his trusted staff.

Have you tested positive for the “cancer gene”? Have questions about your options?


By: Courtney Wolfe Nov. 1, 2015

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