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Third annual BRA Day event brings together breast cancer survivors for a night of education and support

October 29, 2013

Dr. John SempleBreast cancer survivors, patients and medical experts gathered for the third annual BRA Day recently to learn more about breast reconstructive surgery post-mastectomy.

The event which is now in its third year was held on Oct. 16 at St. Michael’s College School. A group of five panellists, including Women’s College Hospital’s Dr. Mitchell Brown, founder of BRA Day, Dr. John Semple, WCH’s chief of surgery, and Dr. Brett Beber, each took the stage to discuss various topics surrounding breast reconstruction.

“One in nine women is diagnosed with breast cancer and when we look at the percentages, less than 15 per cent of women who will undergo mastectomy will receive reconstructive surgery,” said Dr. Brown. “We know breast reconstruction for the right person has value and benefits. It helps improve quality of life and assists in recovery, improves self-confidence and self-esteem and, for many, restores a sense of femininity.”

Dr. Mitchell Brown

There are several factors that play an active role in the low number of women undergoing reconstructive breast surgery post-mastectomy, including, barriers to access and a lack of awareness and education surrounding the options that are available.

Therefore BRA Day has made it its mission and vision to educate regarding reconstructive breast surgery and to also provide women with all the information, options and access they may need to proceed with a procedure in a safe and timely manner.

“Choose a surgeon or a team you feel most comfortable with. It is important for patients who are considering breast reconstruction to do their research and find the team that is best suited to them,” Dr. Semple advised.

The audience was also given the opportunity to listen firsthand to two breast cancer survivors who both shared their remarkable stories.

Dr. Brett Beber

The event also included a “show-and-tell” lounge, where a group of 15 courageous volunteers bared their chests to attendees in order to give them a firsthand perspective on what breast reconstruction looks and feels like.

“I am so grateful to these women who are volunteering tonight at the lounge for giving me the opportunity to see for myself and speak with someone who has been down that road,” said one woman who walked through the lounge.

Guests were invited to enjoy some refreshments, meet with organizations offering support and products to breast reconstruction patients and ask the panellists any personal questions they may have had.

BRA Day, which formed a formal partnership this year with Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada, is now internationally recognized in almost 30 countries and is open to the public each year.

To find out more about BRA Day, please visit www.bra-day.com

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