According to the Canadian Cancer Society, less than 1 in 5 women eligible for breast reconstruction following mastectomy undergo this surgery. Many women are unaware of the reconstructive options, including that this is covered by provincial and territorial plans.
Patients who have a cancer diagnosis or an increased lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, may consider breast reconstruction but with limited information and knowledge, their first consultation is often spent explaining and educating about the fundamentals of breast reconstruction. This leaves less time for discussion about their individual needs. Identifying this information gap, the Breast Centre team created the Breast Reconstruction Workshop in 2011 to provide information, education, and support to those considering breast reconstruction.
This full day workshop was offered twice a year, onsite at Women’s College Hospital. Attendance was capped at 20 participants to ensure a personal and approachable environment, fostering discussion, and sharing of information and support. Due to the pandemic, we shifted this event to virtual platform.
The agenda included presentations from a breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, nurse, nurse practitioner, social worker, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, peer support specialist, and peer volunteer. The content included detailed information about the types of breast reconstruction, typical results, and surgery and recovery management. In addition, emotional and decision-making support was provided throughout the day. A Q&A followed each presentation and participants were encouraged to ask their questions directly to the healthcare practitioners.