It is important to get accurate and reliable information about breast reconstruction. Look for information that has been produced by a reputable organisation and has been updated recently. Talk to a healthcare professional about any information you’ve found or are concerned about.
The reliability of information about breast reconstruction varies greatly. It can be confusing to navigate all of the information available. This section contains a summary of some sources of information and tips on how best to navigate through this information.
Find out more about:
- Information on the internet
- Information in the media
- Advice from friends and family
- Other women who have experienced breast reconstruction
- Relevant links
"And although our backgrounds were slightly different, it was still really interesting for me just to find out what they had gone through and their procedures and all the rest of it. So that was really helpful, just to hear to a human voice on the end of the phone and even to talk about some of the emotions. We didn't know one another well enough to kind of go into the real nitty gritty stuff, but it was reassuring just to hear a voice at the end of the phone who'd gone through what I was about to go through... It made a huge difference to me, it was so reassuring."
Information on the internet
People often go online to source information about their health and healthcare. This may be quick, convenient and private, but can also be a source of confusion. It is important to be aware the quality and accuracy of information provided on the web is variable.
Tips for using the internet
- When searching the internet, look for reputable sites, such as state and territory Cancer Councils or government websites. These sites will often provide information on other useful sites to access.
- Check when the site was last updated. Is the information current?
- Discuss the information you have gathered from the internet with your breast care team. They may be able to clarify information and direct you to other useful resources.
Be aware that international trends in breast reconstruction techniques vary and some information may not be applicable to Australian breast reconstruction techniques.
Breast cancer holds a high profile in the media. Breast reconstruction may be discussed in this context. The reliability of information presented in the media is variable and some facts and situations may be distorted and not relevant to all individuals. It is important to ensure sources of information are reliable.
Tip for interpreting media stories
Breast cancer organisations and advocacy groups such as the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and Cancer Australia may be a good source for clarification and information about breast reconstruction issues raised in the media.
Family and friends are often a great source of support and may offer advice about your breast reconstruction options. However, friends and family may not understand the significance and complexity of your decisions. Some may discourage you from choosing preventative (prophylactic) mastectomy and breast reconstruction while others may actively encourage you to go ahead with the surgeries when you are unsure or do not feel ready to make a decision.
Tip for talking with friends and family
- Keep in mind that, although family and friends are trying to be supportive, the decision is up to you and should be made in your own time. There is no rush to make a decision.
Women who have experienced a breast reconstruction can often provide insight into the emotional aspects of the breast reconstruction experience and the practical implications this may have on your lifestyle and family. Some women find this to be one of their most useful sources of information.
Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different and another woman’s experience may not represent your own.
Tips for finding other women who have had a breast reconstruction
- Ask your breast reconstruction surgeon to put you in touch with other women who have had a breast reconstruction.
- Call the Cancer Council on 13 11 20 to ask to be put you in touch with other women who have had a breast reconstruction.
- Access the Breast Cancer Network Australia’s online network to make contact with women who have experienced breast cancer and breast reconstruction.