Nationwide BRA Day events empower women to make informed decisions about post-mastectomy reconstruction options
TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2016 /CNW/ - This year marks the sixth-annual Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day, an inimitable program of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). BRA Day is an annual event which aims to promote education, awareness and access for women who may wish to consider post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. With nearly 30 events taking place across Canada throughout October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) and November, BRA Day 2016 is poised to educate and inform more women than ever before about their post-mastectomy reconstruction options. A popular component of each BRA Day event is the innovative 'Show & Tell Lounge', which allows women to develop realistic expectations of what reconstruction can achieve by providing a safe and comfortable environment for showing, telling, talking and connecting.
Gaps in education and awareness prevent women from pursuing breast reconstruction surgery
Although most women who have a mastectomy (the surgical removal of one or both breasts) are candidates for breast reconstruction— a surgery that uses an implant, the patient's own body tissue, or a combination of both to reconstruct a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size— only nine per cent of Canadian women currently opt for the procedure, compared to 40 per cent of American women.
"We know that education is a major factor in a woman's decision-making process," says Dr. Mitchell Brown, plastic surgeon and BRA Day Founder. "BRA Day was created to provide women with the accurate, unbiased information they need, along with the opportunity to interact directly with breast reconstruction experts and other women who have been through the experience firsthand so that they can make an informed decision."
This year in Canada, approximately 25,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer — that's about 68 women each day; and while many of these women will undergo a potentially life-saving mastectomy, only a minority will opt for breast reconstruction, despite it being a fully-insured medical procedure in Canada. Additionally, only about seven per cent of women are offered immediate (at the time of their mastectomy) breast reconstruction.
"While breast reconstruction is considered elective surgery, undergoing breast reconstruction can have profound emotional and practical benefits," said Natalie Witkin, Senior Manager, Partnerships and Programs, CBCF. "It is also important to keep in mind that breast reconstruction does not interfere with the treatment of breast cancer or surveillance for recurrence. It can, however, help to enhance one's confidence and self-image after mastectomy."
Unique 'Show & Tell Lounge' most coveted event feature
An important component of each BRA Day event is the innovative 'Show & Tell Lounge', where courageous volunteers in each city will give women the opportunity to see the results of reconstruction and ask questions in a private setting.
"As a defining part of the BRA Day experience, the Show & Tell Lounge can have a positive and even transformative impact on many of our attendees," adds Witkin. "We're beyond grateful for all our brave volunteers who bare all in order to help reduce the anxiety and fear many women feel during the decision-making process."
Research shows emotional and physical benefits of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction
Mastectomy may result in psychosocial issues around body image, self-esteem and sexuality. And while breast reconstruction is a complex and often multi-step procedure, research shows that it can help women enjoy a better body image, improved self-esteem and increased feelings of sexual attractiveness. There are many personal reasons that impact a woman's choice, but lack of awareness and timely access to information are the largest obstacles.
BRA Day and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) welcomed the BRA Day program as a result of a recent merger with Willow Breast and Hereditary Cancer Support (Willow). Willow became the National Coordinator of BRA Day in 2013 and grew the program with the support of BRA Day affiliate partners, sponsors, and grass roots promotion. Growing in size every year, the BRA Day initiative has reached more than 10,000 women through informative events held in communities across Canada.
For more information about events in your area, please visit www.bra-day.com.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is a national community-driven charity. As the largest charitable funder of breast cancer research in Canada, CBCF's vision is to create a future without breast cancer. Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has invested over $360 million in breast cancer research, funding more than 1,400 scientific and community grants. CBCF's investments in vital research, education, health promotion, support and information programs have led to progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. For more information, visit cbcf.org.
ABOUT BREAST RECONSTRUCTION AWARENESS (BRA) DAY
Founded in 2011 by Dr. Mitchell Brown, Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day promotes education, awareness and access for women who may wish to consider post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. It is a collaborative effort that includes plastic surgeons, nurse specialists, the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, corporate sponsors and other breast cancer organizations. BRA Day is now recognized and celebrated in over 30 countries worldwide.
BRA DAY SPONSORS
Closing the loop on breast cancer means making sure that every woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer is aware of all of her options to heal. The Breast Reconstruction Awareness campaign, supported by national public events and media efforts, is made possible with the support and generosity the following sponsors: Allergan (NATRELLE®), Mentor, LifeCell, Novadaq Technologies, Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons and iFinance Canada.
SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
Video with caption: "Video: BRA Day Interviews and B-Roll". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20161017_C6396_VIDEO_EN_797191.mp4&posterurl=http%3A%2F%2Fphotos.newswire.ca%2Fimages%2F20161017_C6396_PHOTO_EN_797191.jpg&order=1&jdd=20161017&cnum=C6396
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