October is always an important month for me, as it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day here in Vancouver falls on October 19th. Meeting and working with breast cancer survivors to guide them through breast reconstruction is a rewarding aspect of my job, and for the past few years I've been involved in organizing and hosting Vancouver's BRA Day to raise awareness around breast reconstruction procedures.
BRA Day is a program put on by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. BRA Day was founded to support education, awareness and access for women considering post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.
This year, I hosted the 6th annual BRA day at the VGH Paetzhold Pavillion. I was thrilled with the turnout and sense of community. As with past years, we had a Show and Tell safe space where breast cancer survivors revealed their reconstructed breasts and plastic surgeons like myself answered questions. BRA Day allows breast cancer survivors to gain information on the surgical options and talk to women who have gone through the same experience.
This week I filmed a segment for Global with Amanda McNally from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CBCF) . The segment discussed breast reconstruction techniques and resources for women in B.C. It was a pleasure to speak with Sophie Lui from Global and continue the BRA Day conversation. You can view the full segment on Global.
Amanda McNally, myself, and Sophie Lui in the Global studio
I also recently sat down with the Globe and Mail to discuss the issues with wait times for breast reconstruction in Canada. Currently, breast cancer survivors seeking breast reconstruction in Canada can wait anywhere from one to five years for their operations. Women at high risk for breast cancer seeking prophylactic surgery with mastectomy and reconstruction can wait 1 to 2 years, which can actually lead to these same women to get breast cancer while waiting for the surgery. These waiting times are an issue that must be addressed with dedicated operative time and more surgeons.
I look forward to continuing to work with breast cancer survivors and engaging in the dialogue around breast reconstruction options. You can visit the official BRA Day website for more information on the initiative and how to get involved by donating or volunteering.