Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy or lumpectomy is not for every woman, but every woman should be informed of the options to which she is legally entitled.
In this spirit, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) lead the Breast Reconstruction Awareness USA Campaign, one of the few breast cancer campaigns dedicated to building awareness around breast reconstruction options.
- All women who are candidates for breast reconstruction should be made aware of the options available to them.
- All women who are candidates for breast reconstruction should be offered treatment in a safe and timely manner.
- Federal law mandates coverage of breast reconstruction for all breast cancer patients, even if such reconstruction is delayed until after other treatments.
Beginnings of Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day
The initial concept, conceived by Canadian plastic surgeon Mitchell Brown, MD, in 2011, focused on a single day that is recognized annually on the third Wednesday in October.
Dr. Brown advocated for a multi-specialist team approach for all breast cancer patients that included gynecologists, radiologists, plastic surgeons, breast surgeons and medical oncologists, who were all to be consulted to ensure breast cancer patients were aware of their options following mastectomy. Critical to the comprehensive care of every breast cancer patient, this approach ensured her medical needs were assessed by a team of specialists from a variety of medical specialties, rather than from one clinical scope.
Move to U.S. & Expansion
The successes of Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day quickly crossed the border into the United States with ASPS joining the effort and recognizing the day in 2012.
The recognition of Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day USA was amplified when Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jewel signed on as the official celebrity spokeswoman in 2013.
The popularity of the day continued to soar in 2014 with nearly 160 ASPS member practices from 44 states holding events to celebrate and educate their communities. Events varied greatly, from educational lectures and book signings to fashion shows, spa days and wine tastings.
The need to bring awareness throughout the year became evident and was the catalyst to launch a yearlong campaign dedicated to educating women about their reconstruction options in 2015.
Legendary singer then signed on Patti LaBelle as the celebrity spokeswoman. Ms. LaBelle used her platform to spotlight breast cancer survivors as part of the Breast Reconstruction Awareness campaign. In 2016, the campaign continued to grow. Nearly 200 ASPS members and organizations participated in raising awareness around the United States.
Making a Difference: The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund
The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund supports research focusing on breast reconstruction and provides financial assistance to uninsured or under-insured women seeking breast reconstruction following a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
Since its inception, the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund has raised more than $1,700,000 to support research, projects, programs and the charitable surgical care of women in need of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.
No donation is too small in the fight to close the loop on breast cancer.
How You Can Help
Individuals and groups are encouraged to start a Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day event in their area. There is no fee to participate and ASPS offers a free Starter Guide to help plan the activities.
Affiliates hosting a fundraising event, also receive a free Marketing & PR toolkit to assist in advertising. Affiliates from across the country share their events with ASPS and are all posted to the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day events page and all social media platforms. Just complete and submit an affiliate form to get started!
Keep an eye out for the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day Campaign in your community and remember: women just like you fight cancer every day.
And the Campaign is joining the fight – today, Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, and every day.