BRA Day raises awareness options for breast cancer survivors
by Katherine Mayer
Breast cancer may be more common than you think. In Ontario, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Some will experience surgery to remove all or part of one or both breasts. Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day is an initiative that promotes education, awareness and access for women considering breast reconstruction.
“Breast reconstruction is a surgery to make the breast(s) look and feel as natural as possible after all or part of it has been removed,” explained David McConnell, Manager of Radiation Therapy and Surgical Oncology at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “Some women have options once completing surgery to remove cancerous breast tissue, yet many do not know these options. The purpose of BRA Day is to demystify breast reconstruction while providing women with the best quality of life.”
Cancer Care Ontario estimates that about 11,762 Ontario women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. However, breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates of all cancer types in Ontario. That’s why awareness is important. Michelle Blackburn is a breast cancer survivor and member of the Thunder Bay Breast Cancer Support Group. She is also the local BRA Day Coordinator.
“The Breast Cancer Support Group is thrilled to be supporting a BRA Day event for women, families and friends in our northwest region,” said Blackburn. “Breast reconstruction is a personal decision. The opportunity to learn from local plastic surgeons, patients with lived experiences, and learn about services within the community will be a giant step forward for breast cancer survivors.”
If you or someone you know is or has faced a breast cancer diagnosis, BRA Day may fulfill educational needs. “BRA Day will provide breast reconstruction education from local plastic surgeons with an opportunity to ask questions,” explained Blackburn. “The event will also highlight patients who have completed different breast reconstruction options, including a visual, women’s only ‘Show and Tell Lounge’.”
BRA Day Thunder Bay will be hosted at the Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday, October 17 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm in Auditorium A and B. The event is free and parking passes will be available. Registration is mandatory by going to www.bra-day.com. For more information on breast reconstruction, visit www.canadiancancersociety.ca and search for ‘breast reconstruction’.