One of my passions is breast reconstruction surgery. In the Fort Worth area we have many talented surgeons performing mastectomies for breast cancer patients, and I have worked with 13 of those surgeons this year. Fort Worth surgeons are knowledgable about breast reconstruction and frequently present it as an option to their patients who are planning to undergo mastectomies. Nationwide, however, that is not always the case. Studies from the University of Michigan found that minorities had previously not been offered reconstruction in a disproporionately high percentage of cases. Because of this, the state of New York last year made it mandatory that women undergoing treatment for breast cancer be offered the option of breast reconstruction. This article is a nice summary of that: http://www.psnextra.org/articles/breast-recon-law.html .
I am involved with a team of physicians who treat breast cancer patients. We have conferences on Wednesdays where individual cases are presented. The team includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, pathologists, breast-imaging specialists, clinical breast nurse navigators, genetics specialists, and plastic surgeons. All aspects of the cases are discussed, from the specifics of the tumor cells to the living situation of the patient. This provides a balanced, well-thought-out plan of treatment uniquely suited to the patients. Because of my dedication to treat these cancer patients in a timely manner, we sometimes have to alter my clinic schedule so I can work with the mastectomy surgeon to eradicate the cancer and provide immediate breast reconstruction. My office staff does amazing work in managing all of this. We find that this team-oriented approach makes the entire process a little less scary, a bit more comforting, and a lot more thorough in providing optimal treatment for our breast cancer patients.