Next month, RealSelf will again publish “Reconstructing Your Narrative,” a comprehensive feature for breast cancer patients and survivors that will highlight first-person narrative content, safety resources and treatment guides to help them navigate their mastectomy and reconstruction options. Here’s what consumers will see and how breast reconstruction doctors can get involved.
1. First-Person Accounts
Our consumer editorial team will publish stories from women who navigated a breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and post-treatment choices. These stories will provide a personal look at their decision making process along the way. Including:
- Influencer perspective. We’ll share the story of cancer survivor, influencer and author Caitlin Keirnan, who has written frankly and holistically about living with breast cancer.
- Breast reconstruction, yes or no? “Reconstruct Your Narrative” will also offer first-person perspectives about moving forward with breast reconstruction surgery from two women—one who has had the reconstruction surgery, and one who decided not to—along with doctor perspectives on both scenarios.
2. Unpacking the Choices
We want breast cancer patients to know that a diagnosis doesn’t mean the world stops spinning for them. “Reconstructing Your Narrative” will provide guidance on the choices for women who are planning a family, and a list of feel-good cosmetic treatments that doctors given the green light for women to undergo during their cancer treatment.
- Feeling Good Post-Diagnosis. Caitlin Keirnan has written about how important it is for her to feel good about her looks in the wake of her breast diagnosis and treatment. As part of “Reconstruct Your Narrative,” we’ll tell patients which beauty treatments dermatologists say are ok to undergo during their cancer treatment.
- Breast cancer and fertility. Our team will also be convening a conversation with breast cancer survivors about the fertility choices women who have breast cancer are sometimes forced to make, and how they approach those choices in their own lives.
3. Step-by-Step Guidance
Breast cancer patients will learn practical steps for planning their breast reconstruction options through a series of “Reconstruct Your Narrative” consumer safety resources. These guides anticipate the fact that a breast cancer diagnosis is scary enough without the added stress of facing a seeming morass of choices, each one with the possibility of having unforeseen downstream effects, without guidance.
- Choosing a plastic surgeon. This guide on how to interview a plastic surgeon for breast reconstruction will discuss an important, but sometimes overlooked, consideration: the fact that women can see better results when their general surgeon and plastic surgeon work together. This guide will highlight what’s possible when that type of coordination happens.
- Knowing your options—and rights. Another guide will help women understand their breadth of breast reconstruction options so they have a helpful reference point for their decision making.
- Breast implant safety guide. This resource will walk women through the basics of breast reconstruction—including the types of treatments they can undergo, treatment timelines, side effects, costs, alternatives and special risk factors.
4. Activating Doctors Like You
We ultimately want breast cancer patients to choose the right doctor for their breast reconstruction treatment. If you’re a breast reconstruction doctor, here’s how you can get involved.
- Optimize your profile. We’ll be placing our Doctor Finder on the “Reconstruct Your Narrative” landing page so that consumers can easily find breast reconstruction surgeons near them—including those who are RealSelf Verified. You should also make sure your profile is up-to-date. And if you haven’t already, apply to join the RealSelf Network. Current members who do not yet have the RealSelf Verified badge should visit their dashboard to learn what they need to do next to get it.
- Spotlight in breast reconstruction. This launch of “Reconstruct Your Narrative” is also a great time to target RealSelf consumers who are interested in breast reconstruction. Contact your Advisor or Advocate to learn what inventory is available and the next steps to boost your presence among women who are actively looking for the right provider for them.