Although many individuals may choose not to undergo breast reconstruction for personal and/or medical reasons, there is a general awareness, education, and support gap around breast reconstruction options after breast cancer. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, less than 1 in 5 women eligible for breast reconstruction following mastectomy undergo this surgery. In addition, many people are unaware that reconstruction is covered under most provincial and territorial health plans in Canada.
To address this gap in knowledge and awareness, BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day was created by Dr. Mitchell Brown from Women’s College Hospital in 2011. The goal of BRA DAY was to empower patients to gain current knowledge to help make informed decisions around breast reconstruction options. Since 2011, BRA Day has annually brought together patients, caregivers, plastic surgeons, healthcare providers and volunteer peers to facilitate a safe space to gain timely access to information. Historically, BRA DAY was presented in communities across Canada providing in-person education and information sessions along with an in-person Show and Tell Lounge featuring various post-mastectomy options (i.e., flat, implants, tissue).
For the first time in October of 2020, and again in 2021, BRA Day was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and featured a national audience. Virtual BRA Day was organized by the Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers at Women’s College Hospital, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society and supported by the Canadian Society for Plastic Surgeons.