A research team at the University of Sydney in collaboration with Cancer Australia and Breast Cancer Network Australia, has developed a new online resource that takes women through the process of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.
The online resource, hosted on the Cancer Australia website, provides a comprehensive guide for women considering surgical breast reconstruction and helps guide them through the challenging decision-making process.
It covers essential information on the types of breast reconstruction available, deciding whether or not to choose reconstruction surgery, and living with a breast reconstruction.
Sydney Nursing School doctoral candidate Olivia Gallagher, who led the development of the resource, said "Increasingly, women are seeking more information about their breast treatment options.
"Approximately 40 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia require a mastectomy as the principal surgical treatment.
"Making a decision about breast reconstruction is complicated, and has to be taken into context with a breast cancer diagnosis.
"The factors surrounding the diagnosis impact on a someone's ability to retain, collate and process the information required to make decisions about their reconstruction treatment," she said.
This subject has become more prominent recently with celebrity Angelina Jolie choosing to undergo a preventative double mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. Following her decision, there was a dramatic increase of referrals to genetic clinics around the world, dubbed the "Angelina Effect".
"This online resource will fill a gap by providing information and guidance for all Australian women who are considering reconstructive surgery, and assist them to make an informed decision during a difficult time in their life," Ms Gallagher said.
The resource also provides valuable information for health professionals providing care and support for women following a mastectomy.
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For more information visit www.canceraustralia.gov.au/breastreconstruction