Breast reconstruction offers more choices for breast cancer patients

E! television network host Giuliana Rancic has recently opened up about her breast cancer battle and decision to undergo a double mastectomy.

She is one of 80,000 American women that choose to get a mastectomy each year, but there are some reconstruction options you may not know exist.

For singer Victoria Bordner, her singing is a dream job.

When doctors told her she had breast cancer and needed a mastectomy, it became a way to cope. After her breast was removed, reality set in.

Victoria says, "Nothing prepares you for seeing your body like that."

She wore a prosthetic for three months.

Then, she had breast reconstruction. Victoria's surgeon, Dr. Michael Miller says far too few women know their reconstruction choices.

Dr. Miller, the chairman of plastic surgery at Ohio State University, says, "It's very important that we improve that awareness."

Recent studies show seventy percent of women eligible for breast reconstruction are not informed of their options and up to twenty percent of women who've had mastectomies did not even know it was an option. The doctor says reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy is growing in popularity.

"The woman never has to go through a time where she has no breast."

He says it is best for healthy women with early stage breast cancer.

"You get a more natural looking result."

He encourages women with advanced cancer, and those who are not sure what they want to do, to wait. Whatever you decide, know your rights! If insurance covers mastectomy by law, it is required to cover breast reconstruction too.

Victoria is glad she knew her choices and says she made the right one for herself.

She says, "Frankly, I ended up looking better than I did before I had the cancer."

Breast reconstruction for cancer patients is also available locally.

You may remember last year, I followed a brave young Goshen mother named Kari Hazelbaker.

Kari, along with Dr. Ronald Downs and Dr. Michael Rotkis, allowed us to follow her into surgery, where she had a double mastectomy and breast implants at the same time.

She had already fought breast cancer once, and because she was just thirty-five years old, and her cancer was aggressive, she decided having a double mastectomy was the best chance she would have to survive and raise her family.

Kari's inspiring story won an Emmy for me and WNDU chief photographer Don Schoenfeld last year.

You can watch the whole story online, just click here.

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