Tuesday, 23 October 2012
The Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Morriston Hospital is celebrating the success of the first ever Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day in Wales.
The event, held in Swansea, was attended by over 70 women of all ages. Women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had breast reconstruction met with women who were about to go through that same procedure. Over 30 healthcare professionals were also at the event to help answer any questions.
Sharing their experiences and putting a spot light on breast reconstruction were three women from Swansea and West Wales. They happily shared their stories; from implants to using parts of your back to build a breast, to nipple tattooing; these women really are heroes.
Picture below l-r: Angela Girling, Morriston Hospital Consultant Plastic Surgeon - Dai Nguyen, Silvana Matthews and Sarah Fripp.
Sarah Fripp is 39 and lives in Brynamman with Carys and Lowri, her two young children, and her husband Adrian.
16 years ago, aged 23, Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer; she had her right breast removed and an implant fitted. These implants only have a certain lifespan and often need replacing after ten years. During 2011 she underwent a procedure where surgeons used a section of her stomach to rebuild her breast; this is called a Diep Flap procedure. Surgeons also created a nipple which was later tattooed the same colour as her left breast.
Sarah said: “Family and friends support is so important for anyone going through this. Believe me you can’t do it on your own.
“The scar on my tummy runs across the bikini- line so you can’t see it. I recently had the new nipple tattooed and it looks great.
“Don’t get me wrong the implant was fine but after 15 years this seemed the right choice for me.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the results.”
Angela Girling is 60 years old and from West Wales, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, and had a lumpectomy, followed by Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy.
Unfortunately 18 months ago the cancer returned. During 2011 Angela had an operation to remove her left breast and by using a muscle from her back surgeons at Morriston Hospital reconstructed a new breast. This is called Back Flap reconstruction.
Angela said: “When I was told I needed a mastectomy I was also told about the options for reconstruction and was given time to think about what I wanted.
“I was offered a back flap reconstruction. I thought that using a part of my body to help fix another part was the best option for me. After all it’s my body and it behaves like my body.
Silvana Matthews, 64, from Swansea was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. She had a mastectomy and decided on breast reconstruction using an implant procedure at Morriston Hospital.
Being open and honest about her reconstruction, Silvana said: “I was referred to a consultant in Morriston who went through all the different types of options that were available to me, which in my case included ‘immediate reconstruction’. I had no idea there were so many possibilities. My consultant and I decided an implant was the best option for me.
“I’m really happy with the results, it’s fantastic, looks great and nobody can tell the difference.
“Everyone is unique, what works for one person is not the same for others. It’s your body, your cancer, your life, only you know how you feel, it’s you that makes the decisions.”
The BRA Day was aimed to promote education and awareness for women who are considering breast reconstruction after having a mastectomy. This will hopefully become an annual event.