Q. My 46-year-old daughter had a double mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer. She had reconstruction, but is struggling. I think she is disappointed with her reconstruction. Any resources or ways to connect with women who might feel the same?
A double mastectomy can be a challenge for anyone regardless of their age. Having reconstruction on top of that adds another layer of challenges including deciding what kind of reconstruction to have. It is not uncommon for people to have mixed emotions about the results of their reconstruction. Some important things to keep in mind when deciding to have reconstruction surgery is to speak with a plastic surgeon, a breast surgeon and an oncologist about what options are available. Additional information on breast reconstruction can be found on the Susan G. Komen website.
Another important point to keep in mind is that a double mastectomy, a mastectomy and even a lumpectomy is an alteration in what was known to be their body for a certain number of years. It will take time to adjust to the change and even with a reconstruction the body will not look like what it did in the past. Reminding your loved one that they have to be patient and kind with themselves about their image will make a difference.
To speak to a volunteer who has been diagnosed with breast cancer you can reach out to Living Beyond Breast Cancer. To speak with a specialist or oncology social worker you can reach out to the Komen Breast Care Helpline 877-GO-KOMEN (877-465-6636).
If you need additional support, feel free to reach out to CancerCare’s Hopeline at 800-813-HOPE (4673). We provide psychosocial support on a one-on-one basis as well as in a group setting with others who are on a similar journey. We provide local and national support as well as referrals as needed.