WODONGA cancer survivor Rosemary Smith did not consider a breast reconstruction at first.
After a mastectomy and three months of chemotherapy in late 2015, she felt her body had been through enough.
But almost 12 months later Mrs Smith decided to look into her options.
“I felt an emptiness, that something was missing, and I hated looking at myself in the mirror,” she said.
“My self-esteem went downhill and my femininity was not there; I wanted to feel complete again.”
Mrs Smith had tissue flap surgery to rebuild her left breast in a five-hour procedure in Melbourne during November.
“For many women, particularly in regional areas, trying to find up-to-date information about the available options can be a difficult and daunting experience,” she said.
Louise Turner, director and consumer advocate from Reclaim Your Curves, a national charity that supports women through the reconstructive process, said breast reconstruction was often the forgotten part of the breast cancer journey.
“Women, rightly, receive great information and support while having treatment but if they choose to pursue breast reconstruction, they are often left to their own devices and find themselves floundering to understand what’s available and how to start the process,” she said.
Reclaim Your Curves will host a Breast Reconstruction Awareness event in Albury on Monday.
Melbourne surgeon Damien Grinsell and Wagga oncoplastic breast surgeon David Littlejohn will talk about surgical advances.
The free event will be held at the Commercial Club from 5.30pm to 9pm.
It is open to women diagnosed with breast cancer, their supporters and health professionals, but bookings are essential. To find our more, go to: reclaimyourcurves.org.au/breast-reconstruction-awareness-events.html