In Los Angeles, as in the rest of the country, one in eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis. After diagnosis, a highly personal journey starts, in which women have to make numerous choices. One of those choices is which type of breast cancer surgery in Los Angeles to have. Additionally, she will have to choose her other treatments and whether or not to have breast reconstruction and, if so, which kind. Breast reconstruction as been found to significantly increase a woman’s well-being and self-esteem, yet 70% of women do not know they have different options available to them.
Breast Cancer Surgery in Los Angeles
The media has played a large role in raising awareness of breast cancer. Unfortunately, despite this hard work, there has been little to no impact on health care. One woman who did make a huge change was Angelina Jolie. She chose to have her fallopian tubes, her ovaries, and her breasts removed because she carried the cancer gene. While not everybody agreed with her choice to do so, it did raise a lot of awareness that women are entitled to make choices. Women need to learn to understand their bodies better, understand cancer better, and understand their treatment options better. Knowledge is power and women need to take that power.
It must also be highlighted again that breast cancer is a hugely personal journey. If a woman, like Angelina Jolie did, finds out that she carries the breast cancer gene, she should not be forced to have her breasts removed. She should also not be told to not have the surgery. Rather, she should be informed of the fact that the gene is there and that she has the option of having a mastectomy. She should also be told that, if she chooses to have a mastectomy, she can have her breasts reconstructed and that this can be done through a standard breast augmentation using implants, or by using tissue from her own body. All the different pros and cons of the procedures must be explained to her so that she can make an informed decision on what is right for her. A doctor’s role, at this point, is advisory.
Health care professionals have positions of authority. Research has shown time and again that people automatically respect and trust the opinion of someone in a doctor’s coat and will not question what they are told. Good physicians and health care professionals do not take advantage of that, but they do have to understand that their patients may not feel confident about asking questions simply because of this ingrained belief in authority. A lot of sensitivity around that is required as well, therefore.
Unfortunately, a final problem is that, with breast cancer, time is of the essence. As a result, women who receive a diagnosis often have to make very difficult choices very quickly. This is why actions such as those of Angelina Jolie are so important, as they can ensure other women are aware of their options before they need to choose between them.