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Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery & Its Impact on Mental Health

— April 10, 2024

Undergoing a mastectomy can negatively impact a woman’s mental health.

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, the obvious focus is on her physical health. The cancer needs to be treated promptly and thoroughly, and hopefully, the recovery process can begin sooner rather than later. This is a scary situation for any woman to experience, but modern medicine means that the outlook is often quite good overall when the right treatment. Against that backdrop, it’s also important to think about the mental side of breast cancer, especially if the patient loses breast tissue and opts to go through reconstructive surgery to feel “normal” again. Specifically, when a woman has breast cancer surgery to address this disease, there can be a notable impact on mental health that lingers far beyond the treatment of the disease itself.

For a woman, undergoing a mastectomy is a major procedure that has an impact on both physical and mental health. While it can obviously be medically required to reduce the chances of breast cancer turning into a life-threatening situation, there is a sense of loss and even confusion that comes with such a significant change to the female anatomy. Many women find that they struggle with self-esteem and body image challenges after going through the surgery. Even with a supportive family and the help of therapy, it can be difficult to get back to a positive frame of mind after going through such a drastic adjustment.

Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery & Its Impact on Mental Health
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

In many cases, breast reconstructive surgery can allow women to more easily deal with these challenging circumstances. Reconstruction allows them to restore the look of their body to what it was prior to surgery, meaning they won’t have such a dramatically different appearance to confront when they look in the mirror. Self-esteem problems are less likely to be significant when the physical change isn’t so notable, and many women find it easier to get life back on track. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are often reduced when a woman is able to restore this part of her body, and that is nothing to overlook, given the prevalence of mental health issues around the world today.

The story with regard to breast reconstruction is generally a positive one, but there are some issues that can stand in the way. The first, of course, is financial. This is not an inexpensive process to go through, and as a result, only a small percentage of women typically have reconstruction performed after a mastectomy. Fortunately, there has been some progress made on this front, with insurance becoming more of an option and government initiatives sometimes being available to make the procedure more approachable.

Making breast reconstruction more available and affordable to women who have gone through breast cancer surgery can help to address the mental health challenges that arise in the aftermath of such an event. Reconstruction won’t completely erase the mental challenges of experiencing cancer, of course, but it can be a meaningful step in the right direction and may help many women to feel much better about themselves and their situation in life.


The impact of breast cancer surgery on mental health and the role of breast reconstruction in restoring confidence and well-being

Psychological Aspects of Breast Reconstruction after Breast Cancer

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