Is there a Place For Breast Reconstruction in Metastatic Breast Cancer?
By: Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo
Traditional medical opinion states that patients with metastatic breast cancer are not candidates for breast reconstruction. Once metastases are diagnosed (stage VI breast cancer), attention understandably focuses on aggressive medical treatment to prolong life. Breast reconstruction is not usually discussed as an option.
At least that used to be the consensus. Opinions have started to change over the last few years. While we must do much better in our treatment of stage 4 breast cancer and patients are still dying from their disease, who are we to decide a patient interested in breast reconstruction should die breastless?
As long as patients interested in reconstruction are medically stable, have stable metastatic disease, and can tolerate surgery, the psychosocial and quality of life benefits that breast reconstruction can provide should not be ignored. While the priority must always remain "life over breast", breast reconstruction should be offered to stable stage 4 patients wishing to consider the option.