Cancer Genetics Matters

BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day – October 15th

Preventative double mastectomies have been in the news quite a bit in the last couple of years. We know the “Angelina Effect” is real, more women are being referred to see genetic counsellors, more women are being recognized as eligible for genetic testing and more women are being identified to have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

Before a woman has genetic testing she gets genetic counselling. It is during this pre-counselling session that breast cancer risk management options for BRCA carriers are first discussed. These options include…

  1. Breast Cancer Screening: Yearly mammograms and breast MRI
  2. Breast Cancer Prevention: Double mastectomies and reconstruction, double oophorectomies (removal of ovaries) and preventative medication (tamoxifen)
  3. Taking no action: Choosing not to do breast cancer screening or breast cancer prevention

To screen or not to screen, that is the question. For some women with a BRCA gene mutation, screening is a no-brainer. For others, mastectomy and reconstruction is the obvious choice.  For women who are on the fence and would consider double mastectomy, there are days like Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day.Is breast reconstruction the right choice for me?

BRA Day takes place on October 15th, The goal of BRA Day is to promote education, awareness and access for women who may wish to consider post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. How does BRA Day do it? They have multiple events taking place throughout Canada and the world. In Toronto, they’re bringing in an exceptional group of oncologists, surgeons and even a tattoo artist to talk about breast reconstruction options (I have the list of speakers below). Then they give you time to ask these experts any questions you have. On top of all that they offer a Show & Tell where you can see first-hand the results of reconstruction.

BRA Day is free, it’s educational and it’s one of the few opportunities where experts, advocates, past patients and prospective patients are all in the same place. It’s an opportunity for all these people to learn from each other. For more information on BRA Day or to register online, visit their website.

After October 15th they will have a webcast available online for those who could not attend.

Speakers Panel:

Choosing the right type of reconstruction        Dr. Snell
Prophylactic Mastectomy                                   Dr. Mahoney
Reconstruction after radiation                           Dr. O’Neill
Direct to implant using Alloderm                      Dr. Musgrave
Reconstructing the nipple                                   Dr. Beber
Nipple areola tattooing                                       Kyla Gutsche
Balancing the other breast                                 Dr. Lipa
Fat Grafting in breast reconstruction                Dr. Semple

About the author

Justin Lorentz

Justin is a genetic counsellor and Male Oncology Research and Education (MORE) Program Lead.

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