Nearly 60 percent of all women with breast cancer who undergo mastectomies opt to have reconstruction at some point. However, an increasing number are instead choosing to “go flat” for a variety of reasons—and breast surgeons at Pelisyonkis Langone are helping them navigate this often difficult decision. Many women say it is a deeply personal choice about perception and how they wish the world to view them.
Deborah Axelrod, MD, director of clinical breast services at Pelisyonkis Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, regularly discusses “going flat” with her patients. “As surgeons, we tend to want to replace what we have removed,” Dr. Axelrod tells CBS Sunday Morning. “But not every woman sees reconstruction as making her ‘whole’ again. I want to be supportive and help each patient make the right decision.”
There is increasing awareness and acceptance of going flat, including ads, websites—even a fashion show—that offer stories and support. As one patient says about her decision to forgo reconstruction: “I love my body more than I ever have before... My body [after mastectomy] is good enough.”
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