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 was the consensus until fairly recently. Opinions have started to change over the last few years. While we are still losing the battle with stage 4 breast cancer and most patients will die 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 and passed fit for 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 discussed with patients regardless of the stage of the disease.