This is a key area and is done by a team of people at different times. Breast nurses, reconstructive nurses, breast surgeon and reconstructive surgeon are the main resource. It is important that you clarify any doubt as you go along, so that you understand the process and make yourself a plan for the future.
The counselling process begins with a detailed history and clinical examination. A part of this process is documentation, taking measurements, calculating body mass index and clinical photography.
Major illness like diabetes, thyroid problems needs to be addressed before any planned surgery. Also appropriate weight loss and stopping smoking are key elements, to avoiding unnecessary surgical and anaesthetic complications.
Important areas to ask questions on include:
- Cancer itself
- Any chemotherapy and radiotherapy?
- Can the reconstruction be done at the same time or at a different time to the cancer operation?
- What is the procedure for reconstruction?
- What does the procedure involve and how long is the hospital stay?
- How much time will it take me to recover? When can I drive, swim, go back to work and perform aerobics?
- What is the resultant scarring like?
- What are the main complications?
- What are the limitations of the procedure?
- Will I need a procedure on the other breast?
- How long is the whole process of breast reconstruction?
- Can you show me some pictures of the results?
- Can I speak to somebody who has had the same operation before?
Mr Sanjay Azad will discuss with all these aspects in some detail. It is advisable to have a second consultation, which helps considerably in clarifying any outstanding doubts.
There is plenty of information on the web and some of the good sources are linked through the resource page of this website.