On September 15, the organizing committee of Donna x Donna (woman for woman) was in the Senate to ask for an adjustment of the National Health System for each admission related to breast cancer. Doctor Barbara Cagli, plastic surgeon of the Breast Unit of the Bio-Medical Campus of Rome and a member of the Committee talks about this non-profit organization that was founded in 2018 when the case of lymphoma associated with the prosthetic capsule of breast implants burst. The surgeons spent many hours explaining and calming the patients and from these reflections came an information brochure. The committee behind this initiative was in the Senate a few weeks ago to raise another issue related to breast cancer: the adaptation of DRG (Diagnosis Related Groups), the reimbursements that the National Health System gives for each admission related to breast cancer, because they are small and variable from region to region. This does not always allow the best choice for the patients, even if the surgeons undertake to do so.
It is difficult to manage the moment you receive the diagnosis of breast cancer, especially at the beginning. In that moment it is important to develop a proper awareness. The patient must be an active part of the treatment process. The will comes later, also because fortunately the message that we give, together with the diagnosis, is that there is a very high rate of healing.
It is important to remember not to get discouraged and face the battle with determination. We are the examination that looks to the future, our patients enter with many fears and uncertainties but they come out with a concrete hope of being able to heal. In fact, today the diagnosis of breast cancer is accompanied by ultra-specialized care, also from a reconstructive point of view. We talk about mastectomy and aesthetic reconstruction because both the work of plastic surgeons and breast doctors, and all those who are part of the Breast Units, is constantly improving.
Even if we talk about aesthetic mastectomy and aesthetic reconstruction, it is always important to tell the truth. In fact, a breast reconstruction cannot be compared to a breast augmentation. This is an important concept especially for patients who do not have breast cancer, but have a genetic mutation, therefore a high probability of developing it over life. In this case, awareness is more difficult to develop in patients undergoing prophylactic surgery. Women who have breast cancer – they have another perspective, they have so much grit that they accept all the consequences.
Instead, this is more complicated for those who undergo surgery without having breast cancer, because expectations are much higher and it is important to be honest and inform patients correctly.