FEATURE | Posted Oct. 6, 2014

UC Davis to host first BRA Day event

Free event invites all women affected by breast cancer to learn about breast reconstruction options

BRA Day © UC Regents

In conjunction with BRA Day USA, an international campaign to share information on breast reconstruction among cancer patients, the Division of Plastic Surgery will host BRA Day at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center on Oct. 15. The inaugural event is free and open to all women interested in learning about the many treatment options available after surgery.

One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year, and just over half of them have a mastectomy — a common breast cancer surgical procedure to remove the breast. The surgery can significantly change a woman’s appearance and impact her quality of life. In many cases, breast reconstruction can help. However, less than 20 percent of American women who have mastectomies opt for breast reconstruction, and only five percent of those have it immediately following surgery.

“I think one reason more women don’t have reconstructive surgery is because of the difficulty in connecting the plastic surgeon with the breast cancer surgeon,” said Richard Bold, chief of surgical oncology. “Our plastic surgeons work hard to coordinate with the surgeons, and roughly 75 percent of UC Davis mastectomy patients get breast reconstruction.”

National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day

Date: October 15, 2014

Time: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Location: UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, 4501 X St., Sacramento. Click here to map directions.

Because the Federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 requires health insurance plans that offer mastectomy coverage to also cover the cost of reconstructive surgery, a big part of BRA Day’s mission is to ensure that patients know about their reconstruction options at the time of diagnosis and are referred to a plastic surgeon for more information.

Research shows breast reconstruction can help boost a woman’s self-esteem and renew a sense of well-being, said Michael Wong, professor and surgeon in the Division of Plastic Surgery at UC Davis, who specializes in breast reconstruction.

“After a mastectomy, some women may feel like they’ve lost their femininity,” he said. “Breast reconstruction can help restore what a patient may feel she has lost and play a vital role in the healing process.”

This year’s event theme, BRAve Faces, features a panel discussion with health care providers involved in a patient’s journey, from surgical oncology and medical oncology to radiation oncology and plastic surgery. A second panel features individual patients, each of whom had a different type of breast reconstruction surgery. Guests also will be able to mingle and question experts about breast implants, skin care and more.

BRA Day was created by the Plastic Surgery Foundation and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2012. Eighteen countries now participate in the event, which is part of the national and international Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.

For more information, visit www.BRAdayUSA.org , the UC Davis Medical Center — Plastic Surgery Facebook page, follow on Twitter via #BRAdayUSA or call the Plastic Surgery Office at 916-734-2753.