Sponsored by Natrelle®
Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. It crosses all lines from socioeconomic status, to race, and more.
Dr. Vivian Bea, Board-Certified General Surgeon and Chief of Breast Surgical Oncology at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, spoke at a Natrelle® roundtable discussion where she shared her best ways to support Black women living with breast cancer. She was joined by Dr. Nyama Sillah, Cosmetic, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Specialist based in Milwaukee, and Caleen Allen, Vice President of Sisters Network® Inc, the largest Black breast cancer survivor organization in the US. During the discussion, attendees were educated on the importance of access, communication, and connection—all elements that are key to addressing the issues that Black women face.
An impactful part of navigating life after breast cancer is the option to explore breast reconstruction. “Did you know that there is a federal law that provides protections to many patients who choose to have breast reconstruction?” Dr. Bea shared. “With the Women’s Health Care Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998, insurance has to pay for reconstruction after a mastectomy on the affected breast as well as the other breast. And it also now extends to lumpectomies and reconstruction revisions, if needed.”¹
“Reconstruction has become very important in the comprehensive breast cancer treatment because it can help a woman psychosocially to feel whole again,” says Dr. Sillah. “But there are still racial disparities within the reconstruction space.”
According to a study on racial disparities in breast reconstruction, Black women have a 35% breast reconstruction rate compared to 49% for White women.² Dr. Sillah adds, “There are still barriers, and still work to be done so that women know about the right to get reconstruction if they choose to.”
If you or someone you love is dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis or recovery, there are resources available for you. And if you need help, there are incredible organizations that can provide support and resources when you need it most, like Sisters Network® Inc. A leader in the Black breast cancer movement, Vice President Caleen Allen says their mission is to educate Black women about breast health, and advocate for and support Black breast cancer survivors. “Being your own personal advocate is important, but it can also be tiring and overwhelming,” she says. Sisters Network® Inc and organizations like it are also available to help build and foster connections within the community. Allen notes, “Through our affiliate chapters, we educate and empower Black women to understand what resources are available in their local communities during their breast cancer journey, and how to identify and gain access to a qualified surgeon to explore breast reconstruction options if they feel that is important to them.”
For more information, talk to your healthcare provider and do your research to find support in your area. Additional resources are available through the National Cancer Institute and nonprofit organizations.
Natrelle® Breast Implants IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Breast implants are not lifetime devices. The longer patients have them, the greater the chance they will develop complications, which may require more surgery. Breast implants have been associated with a cancer of the immune system called breast implant–associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). Some patients have died from BIA-ALCL. Patients have also reported a variety of systemic symptoms such as joint pain, muscle aches, confusion, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, and others.
Natrelle® Breast Implants are for breast reconstruction to replace breast tissue that was removed due to cancer or trauma or that failed to develop properly due to severe breast abnormality, and for revision surgery to improve primary breast reconstruction.
You should not get breast implants if you currently have an active infection, untreated breast cancer or precancer, or are pregnant or nursing. Tell your doctor about any conditions you have, any medications you are taking, and any planned cancer treatments. Breast implantation is likely not a one-time surgery. Having implants removed and not replaced may lead to permanent cosmetic changes of the breasts. Breast implants may affect breastfeeding. Gel implants may rupture without symptoms, so periodic imaging after surgery is recommended.
Key complications are reoperation, implant removal, implant rupture, implant deflation with saline filled implants, and severe capsular contracture.
Talk to your doctor for more information.
The use of Natrelle® Breast Implants is restricted to licensed physicians who provide information to patients about the risks and benefits of breast implant surgery.
1. Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA). Accessed June 29, 2023.
2. Connor SK, Goodman MS, Myckatyn T., Margenthaler J., Gehlert S. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. Racial Disparities in Breast Reconstruction at a Compregensive Cancer Center. Published October 31, 2021. Accessed August 8, 2023. https://profiles.wustl.edu/en/publications/racial-disparities-in-breast-reconstruction-at-a-comprehensive-ca
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