A breast cancer dialogue

Times sure have changed.

Thirty years ago I was a new reporter on a health beat, and remember writing a story about new trends in breast reconstruction surgery. It was an evolving field and the procedure wasn’t as common as it is today — even for cancer patients. Many women who had to undergo what were called “radical” or “modified radical” mastectomies lived the rest of their lives with scars where their breasts used to be. Insurance carriers, for the most part, considered reconstruction “cosmetic” and wouldn’t cover it.

Today, reconstructive surgery is a normal part of the breast cancer dialogue. And it’s a welcome light at the end of the tunnel for women faced with the devastating diagnosis. Yes, they have to battle cancer and everything that goes with it. But they no longer have to live their lives feeling deformed or scarred. They can look like a “normal” woman.

We’ve come a long way. Hard to believe we still haven’t figured out how the beat the cancer before it starts.


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