Going Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
Many know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to shine a light on the disease and increase overall awareness. What many don’t know is that donated tissue often plays an important role in breast reconstruction.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, about one in eight women born today will get breast cancer, making it all too important for women of all ages to be proactive about their breast health. Experts say early detection is key, if found early, most women can survive breast cancer!
Donated Tissue & Breast Reconstruction:
This month also gives us a chance to talk about a heroic tissue donor’s ability to change the lives of breast cancer survivors! Donated tissue is often a great option for women turning to breast reconstruction surgery.
- The Process — While each situation is unique to the person, one option for breast cancer treatment is a mastectomy, or the removal of a whole breast, followed up with breast reconstruction. According to the Breast Reconstruction Education Center, through different plastic surgery techniques, breast reconstruction helps restore the breast back to its normal shape, appearance and size. In some cases, women are able to use an autograft, where tissue is taken from one part of their body and grafted to another part, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Another common option is taking donated tissue, or an allograft, from a tissue donor and using it as a resting place for an implant. The tissue provides space and structure to hold the liquid or gel-based implant.
- The Impact — Amazingly, just ONE tissue donor can help up to 10 breast reconstruction patients! So often, when talking about donation, organ donation comes to mind first, but tissue donation proves to be incredibly impactful, life enhancing and even described by some recipients as lifesaving.
Next Steps, How You Can Help:
Signing up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor may make you eligible to donate tissue to someone who needs breast reconstruction. Signing up is easy, simply say Yes the next time you renew or obtain your driver license or State ID, or sign up anytime online at DonateLifeColorado.org or DonateLifeWyoming.org.