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A new you after breast cancer: Doctor shares reconstruction options

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Treatment for breast cancer most often involves a surgical procedure to remove the cancerous tumor (lumpectomy) or the entire breast (mastectomy), depending on the case.

The traumatic experience of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, along with the physical changes caused by treatment, can be an especially emotionally distressful time for patients.

Breast reconstruction is an optional part of the treatment process that often helps to restore a patient’s self-confidence and better adjust to her ‘new normal’.

While some patients opt to have the reconstructive procedure done at the time of the lumpectomy or mastectomy, it is often in the patients’ best interest to delay the procedure until they know if further treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, are needed to treat the disease.

With many options for breast reconstruction procedures, the common goal of the procedure is to restore the symmetry of the patient’s breasts.

The key to making an informed decision about whether or not a breast cancer patient wants to include breast reconstruction as a part of their treatment is starting the conversation with their general surgeon and plastic surgeon before the cancer treatment process even begins.

Patients should discuss all options with their plastic surgeon, as well as what their individualized breast reconstruction process will entail.

Taking a multi-disciplinary approach to cancer treatment, Cone Health Cancer Center’s exceptional team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, general surgeons, plastic surgeons and other cancer-related medical experts meet together to develop each patient’s individualized treatment plan and ensure that each patient is educated and comfortable with the plan.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Howard Holderness is a plastic surgeon at Holderness Plastic Surgery and a member of the Cone Health medical staff. Dr. Holderness is a 1965 graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

He completed his residency in general and plastic surgery while serving in the United States Air Force at the 3510th USAF Hospital at the Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. Dr. Holderness is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.