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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.
I want everyone to win their battles like we did. That’s why I’ve left a gift in my will to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.