VANCOUVER, Wash., March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A gap in women's healthcare has gone silent for far too long. Although it is required by law that insurance carriers cover breast reconstruction following breast cancer surgery, a majority of woman are never informed of their breast reconstruction options. In fact, only about 30 percent of patients who undergo a mastectomy receive breast reconstruction. As a result, an alarming number of women are being left to suffer from the physical and emotional effects of cancer, long after the cancer is gone. Plastic Surgeons and Industry Partners have joined forces with breast cancer non-profits to ensure that women get the proper information regarding their reconstruction options immediately upon diagnosis. BRAVE Day (Breast Reconstruction Advocacy Victory Day) is March 21st and is the official national day to emphasize the importance of Breast Reconstruction Rights. This first event will take place in Vancouver, Washington with the Mayor and many other State officials in attendance. Mayor Leavitt of Vancouver states, "I continue to be astonished at the tremendous level of giving and support in our community to those who are in need. The Leadership of the Pink Lemonade Project, based in Vancouver, Washington, recognizes that breast cancer survival is much more than healing of surgery stitches. I commend Dr. Allen Gabriel and the Board Members of the Pink Lemonade Project for their endeavor to address the healing of mind, body, and spirit through educational support and emotional healing."
Knowing something else had to be done, Dr. Allen Gabriel created an educational site, www.myreconstructionrights.org to inform patients of their reconstruction rights. Dr. Gabriel shares that "not every patient desires to have reconstruction and, of course, not everyone is a candidate to have reconstruction, but it would be nice for them to have an opportunity to know what their rights and options are." Dr. Allen Gabriel co-founded BRAVE Day and "wanted a dedicated day to focus on breast reconstruction so that more patients have an increased awareness of their options. We are very excited about this day and hope to someday increase awareness on a national level."
The importance of a network of breast cancer survivors and their families is also a critical aspect to the healing process. Pink Ribbon Story Foundation (PRSF), recently formed, helps women to share their stories with one another and help each other cope with the breast cancer solidarity process that only someone with the disease can understand. Dr. Jim Namnoum, one of the founders, states that PRSF is "focused on empowering women to deliver the messages of hope, healing, and the pathway to physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery after breast cancer. There is an enormous gap in the practical knowledge for women and their families as they complete the journey from diagnosis through treatment. Utilizing the process of narrative medicine, PRSF aims to put the power to share, teach, and heal squarely in the hands of those best able to help...our breast cancer survivors."
A recent breast cancer reconstruction patient expressed why breast reconstruction was important to her, "To start with, it makes the woman feel whole. I had no idea what I was getting into when I learned I had breast cancer. Being able to have reconstruction has allowed me to still feel like a woman and feel like even though I had breast cancer, I do not need to be reminded of it every day. I couldn't imagine how my self-esteem would have been affected if I had not had reconstruction. It seems a bit inhumane to not have that option. I wonder how a man would feel if certain body parts of his were removed without reconstruction given similar circumstances. Every woman should have a choice of reconstruction."
BraveDay.org (www.BraveDay.org) will be supported by BRAVE Coalition, (www.BRAVEcoalition.org) a non-profit foundation that will focus on helping other non-profits such a Pink Lemonade Project (www.swmedicalcenter.org/pinklemonadeproject) and Pink Ribbon Story Foundation (www.PinkRibbonStories.org) so that they can help women with their reconstruction and other needs upon breast cancer diagnosis. BRAVE Coalition is co-founded by Sandra Berriman, Ph.D., and Christine Grogan, MBA, MS/HSA.