The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has joined forces with the American Society of Breast Surgeons on behalf of female breast cancer patients. By advocating the inclusion of plastic surgeons in the treatment planning process, it is hoped that breast cancer patients will get better care and surgical outcomes.
A recent meeting in NYC brought together breast cancer survivors, doctors from multiple specialties, advocacy groups, and others, to discuss best care practices for breast cancer patients. The gathering was punctuated by a sobering statistic: “Nearly 70 percent of women who are eligible for breast reconstruction are not informed of their reconstructive options by a referring physician. The number is even higher for minority women.”
Why does this matter? ASPS President Michael McGuire says that a woman’s choice to opt for breast reconstruction impacts the surgical techniques that will be selected for her. Therefore, including a plastic surgeon from the beginning of care planning is in her best interest. The Team Approach – which brings together a breast surgeon, gynecologist, radiologist, medical oncologist, and a plastic surgeon – originated in an effort to design personalized treatment plans that are put in place right away – from the time of diagnosis and through treatment and recovery.
McGuire explains the benefits for female cancer patients: “Each step of the cancer care journey requires specific medical expertise. When a team of experts works together, the outcome for patients is vastly improved.” The patient also benefits when a physician explains all of the reconstruction options at the onset of treatment.