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Mastectomy, reconstructive surgeries offered to women with breast cancer on same day

Reconstruction uses tissue from other areas of body

SAN ANTONIO – The American Cancer Society estimates there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. It also said over the course of this year, more than 246,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.

Cancer doesn’t have to be disfiguring. With advancements in the medical industry, there are several ways doctors are able to reconstruct a woman's breasts to give them a most natural appearance.

Kim Land lost her mother to breast cancer in November 2014.

“I had just had a clean mammogram three months earlier. But three weeks after she died, I thought I felt something in my left breast. I thought I was being paranoid,” said Land.

Land waited a few months, but asked doctors to check again. This time, they told her she too had breast cancer.

Doctors tell KSAT12 News a lot has changed over the last couple decades. Patients no longer have to wait between having a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery -- they can actually do both in the same day.

Land said that made her decision to have a double mastectomy a bit easier.

"Knowing that I could have reconstructive surgery the same day the cancer removed, knowing that I would wake up and still have breasts," Land said.

“Right now, we've gotten to the point in terms of tissue reconstruction where we are able to move tissue from other areas of the body where tissue is expendable,” said surgeon Dr. Oscar Ochoa.

Ochoa is one of several surgeons at PRMA Plastic Surgery, which specializes in advanced breast cancer reconstruction.

“Essentially if everything goes as planned, the patient will have a very natural appearing reconstruction where it will continue to grow and age with the patient just like any other body part,” Ochoa said.

“The sigh of relief was mostly because it was my tissue. It felt soft, it is warm, it’s natural feeling. It’s your own tissue so it doesn’t feel like I have artificial breasts, explained Land, “It feels like me.”

Ochoa told KSAT12 News that there’s a federal mandate that states if your insurance company covered your mastectomy, it must also cover your reconstructive surgery.

Methodist Hospital Cancer Network is hosting the free, public seminar Wednesday on breast cancer surgery and reconstructive surgery so women can decide what options may be best for them. Women can participate in person or through a livestream on Facebook.

The event is Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and will be at the John Hornbeak Building located at 4455 Medical Dr., San Antonio, TX 78229.

To RSVP, you can call the Methodist Healthcare Healthline at 210-575-0355.