On 27 October, ‘Bra Day’ in Humanitas will be a morning dedicated to breast cancer, breast reconstruction and the women who have defeated it with scientific reports from surgeons, oncologists, senologists, radiotherapists and the testimonies of those who made it.
The day – which will be inaugurated by Prof. Marco Klinger, head of the Operative Unit of Plastic Surgery in Humanitas – is part of the initiatives of ‘Smiles in Pink’, the campaign designed for the month of breast disease prevention, including the live Facebook stream where Dr. Silvia Giannasi will be present, Aid of the Plastic Surgery Unit, and Dr. Monica Marchetti, Physiotherapist of the Breast Unit, and together with a patient, Marzia Vittore, answered some of the questions sent by many women through social networks.
We talked about breast reconstruction, post-operative recovery and physiotherapy and the fears that many patients have managed to overcome.
What is breast reconstruction?
“For us surgeons, breast reconstruction is first of all allowing a woman to still feel as a woman, to feel beautiful in a suit or dress that she put on even before the operation,” – explained Dr. Giannasi – “From the operating point of view, reconstructive surgery is divided into conservative and demolishing: in the first case only part of the breast is removed, which is then remodeled and if necessary, the other breast is also made symmetrical and harmonious to avoid different volumes and shapes. While with mastectomy, therefore a demolition surgery, we mean a reconstruction with prosthesis,” concluded the doctor.
How has reconstructive surgery changed in recent years?
“For 30 years now, surgery has been less and less invasive and oriented towards a more conservative approach and strategy, thus offering less significant and ‘painful’ outcomes for the patient”.
What are the main doubts that women tell you about?
“Often they are frightened first of all by the diagnosis and then put the reconstruction in second place. We, on the other hand, remind the most hesitant patients that once they have been operated on and cured, they will still retain their femininity and not doing the reconstruction could bring them important psychological problems,” explained Dr. Giannasi.
Physiotherapy and post-operative recovery
What is physiotherapy after surgery and when does it start?
“The path begins the first day after the operation,” explained Breast Unit physiotherapist Monica Marchetti. “I instruct patients in some of the exercises they can do and I reassure them: I tell them what they can do in the first month and what they can’t do. The motor recovery of the affected limb and close to the operated breast is very important”.
“Initially, patients are afraid to move or to compromise the outcome of the operation. All movements are, of course, allowed, as long as no excessive weight is lifted during the first four weeks. On the other hand, the immobility of the arm leads to worse consequences, for example to the shoulder that could lose ability and mobility,” concluded the physiotherapist.
After the operation, you can return to daily life and habits, including sports: “a patient of mine is back at sea, to surf, after only eight months from the operation,” remembers Dr. Giannasi.
A testimony also confirmed by Marzia Vittore, a patient of Humanitas and the Breast Unit operated in 2008 for the first breast cancer and in 2016 for a recurrence: “I’m here alive and happy with my normality,” she said in closing of the live Facebook stream. “Often women are afraid of not being able to do it, of not feeling like a woman anymore, but to them I want to say that we are never alone and that we can do it”.