Breast cancer

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Choosing to stay flat

You do not have to have breast reconstruction or use a breast prosthesis after a mastectomy. This is sometimes called “staying flat.” The decision is a personal one. Some women say that they choose to stay flat because they don’t need a prosthesis or reconstruction to make them feel like a woman.

There are many reasons why women choose not to have breast reconstruction surgery:

  • Reconstruction means more surgery. If you have other health issues that could affect the surgery (like diabetes or heart disease), it may not be the right decision for you.
  • You may decide that the potential complications and side effects of breast reconstruction are not worth it.
  • You may not want to use breast implants or take tissue from another part of your body to reconstruct a breast.
  • Surgery won’t give you back your breast. A reconstructed breast doesn’t look or feel natural.

You may also choose not to wear a breast prosthesis. Some women find a prosthesis uncomfortable, heavy and awkward. Other women are concerned about the costs – wearing a prosthesis means buying special prosthetic bras or clothing and buying new prostheses over time.

The choice is yours on whether you want to go flat, have breast reconstruction or use a breast prosthesis. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with how your body looks and feels.

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The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report found that of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2017, half are expected to be lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Learn what you can do to reduce the burden of cancer.

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