Women share their breast reconstruction stories to raise awareness

‘‘Some women don’t want to have a reconstruction and that’s their choice and I respect that. But this was my choice,
‘‘Some women don’t want to have a reconstruction and that’s their choice and I respect that. But this was my choice," says Robyn Woodham of her decision to have a breast reconstruction.

Robyn Woodham isn’t an actress or filmmaker but she does have something in common with Hollywood’s Angelina Jolie.

Mrs Woodham underwent a mastectomy earlier this year after her right breast was removed following her breast cancer diagnosis last year.

‘‘It broke my heart to have my breast off,’’ said Mrs Woodham of Catherine Field. ‘‘I take a lot of pride in my appearance so I was keen to have a reconstruction.’’

Mrs Woodham has been called an ‘‘Angelina of her community’’ for sharing her story on BRA Day – Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day — today.

More than 15,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year but only a small number of them will opt for a breast reconstruction, Associate Professor Hugh Batholomeusz of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons said. 

Awareness increased after Jolie’s breast cancer and reconstruction in 2013 – 4 per cent more women discovered a reconstruction was possible after a mastectomy.

‘‘The more information women have the more empowered they feel to make an informed decision,’’ Mr Batholomeusz said.

Mrs Woodham said the six weeks she went without a breast before her surgery was ‘‘the most testing time’’.

‘‘I had to fill my bra with stuffing and every day looking at the scar where my breast used to be,’’ she said.

‘‘Some women don’t want to have a reconstruction and that’s their choice and I respect that. But this was my choice and I am happy with it. I feel complete now.’’

An online forum will be held on November 25 for women wanting to ask a question of a plastic surgeon. To participate, search for Bra Day Australia on Facebook.

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