Dr. Thomas McNemar, a board-certified plastic surgeon, urges women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis to evaluate for themselves whether breast reconstruction should be an appropriate step in their recovery.
San Ramon, California (October 2009) – Though Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in full swing, as many as 7 out of 10 women with breast cancer are unaware that they have the option of reconstructing their breasts after mastectomy. One San Ramon breast reconstruction surgeon is seeking to change this statistic. Dr. Thomas McNemar, a board-certified plastic surgeon serving the Danville, Modesto, San Ramon and Walnut Creek areas, says breast reconstruction options go unaddressed by many oncologists and cancer surgeons, but patients can take several steps on their own to explore their choices.
“Today, women with breast cancer get plenty of information about their cancer treatment options, but they often aren’t given the facts about breast reconstruction,” notes Dr. McNemar. “Reconstruction can be extremely important for a woman to feel ‘whole’ again.”
Only about 40 percent of mastectomy patients choose to have breast reconstruction, although the procedure is usually covered by insurance and as many as 98 percent of women who have had reconstruction say that they would do it again. San Ramon and Walnut Creek breast reconstruction cases account for only a portion of Dr. McNemar’s breast enhancement procedures, but he is trying to spread the word both online and offline for women who have not received detailed information from their cancer specialists.
“Reconstruction can be a key step in the emotional and mental healing that needs to happen after a breast cancer diagnosis,” notes Dr. McNemar. “From years of helping women who’ve gone through that process, I know that for many of my patients, breast reconstruction often means the difference between just ‘being healed’ and really ‘feeling healed.'”
Studies show that breast reconstruction can benefit women dramatically by helping to foster a healthy self-image and see their bodies in a more positive light. Dr. McNemar says that even patients who come to him years after breast removal frequently experience considerable benefits from a reconstructive procedure.
“Body shape significantly impacts self image, and that’s particularly true after you’ve been fighting something as threatening as breast cancer,” he says. “My Walnut Creek and Danville breast reconstruction patients often tell me that after their procedure, they feel much more confident and positive; they have a whole new sense of their capabilities.”
Dr. McNemar offers breast reconstruction information on his Web site and works with several area mastectomy surgeons to make information about reconstructive options readily available to more patients. He also encourages women to speak to qualified reconstruction surgeons and research the procedure options thoroughly on their own.