Seven out of 10 women are never told of their breast reconstruction options, but together we can change that. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and The Plastic Surgery Foundation are launching the first ever National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day) in New Orleans. The day is dedicated to promoting education, awareness and access to breast reconstruction following mastectomy or lumpectomy.
This year, the United States and 20 other countries will join an international effort to close the loop on breast cancer, to ensure that all patients are fully informed of their surgical options and supported by a team of medical professionals working together for the patient's best interest. BRA Day USA official kicks off on New Orleans with a press conference followed by a flash mob on St. Charles Avenue. BRA Day was first launched in 2011 in Canada and now will occur annually on the third Wednesday of October.
As the national spokesperson for BRA Day USA, award-winning singer/songwriter Jewel delivered a video message during the press conference.
My name is Kim Sport. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor and a breast reconstruction patient.
The group of women joining me on this stage – 7 out of 10 of them in dark colored tee shirts - represent the problem – AND - the solution that bring us together today.
We have had a federal law on the books for over 14 years requiring that insurance companies pay for breast reconstruction as a medically-necessary treatment for breast cancer patients following a mastectomy. Yet, recent research shows that 7 out of 10 women with breast cancer are in the dark about their surgical options because so many health care providers - to this day - fail to inform their patients that reconstructive surgery is an insured option for them.
Just about a year ago - Breastoration – New Orleans’ aptly named charity whose mission is to help women restore their breasts following mastectomy – received a call from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons about their intentions to launch a national Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Campaign in the United States.
Together with CAGNO, which administers the Breastoration Fund, we strategized, agreed to partner in this launch and, today, are proud to kick off this important campaign in New Orleans – a city which exemplifies the courage and determination required to rebuild following a tragedy.
Breast reconstruction represents the rebuilding phase of recovery from breast cancer – and I know firsthand that, in many cases, it can be the final step in the physical and emotional healing of a woman who has undergone breast removal. That 70% percent of breast cancer patients in this country are not informed that they do not have to live with lifelong disfigurement following a mastectomy is unacceptable.
For the sake of all women faced with breast cancer - those who HAVE suffered, those who ARE suffering as we speak, and those who MAY suffer in the future - in other words every woman - WE need to put the conversation about the availability of insured breast reconstruction surgery on the agenda. Empowering every woman, everywhere, to make informed decisions about her individual breast cancer treatment is what BRA Day is all about.