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Delay in Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction May Fuel Anxiety

Delay in Post-Mastectomy Reconstruction May Fuel Anxiety
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TUESDAY, Oct. 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Breast reconstruction immediately after breast removal surgery due to cancer may help reduce a patient’s mental distress, according to a study published in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The study included 106 breast cancer patients who underwent breast removal surgery followed by breast reconstruction. Thirty patients had reconstruction during the same surgery as breast removal, while 76 had delayed breast reconstruction, an average of three years after the mastectomy.

Before mastectomy, 26 percent of study participants had increased levels of anxiety and 9 percent had increased levels of depression symptoms. In both groups of patients, anxiety decreased after breast reconstruction. After mastectomy, women in the delayed breast reconstruction group scored lower on body image, sexuality, and health-related quality of life. Six months after breast reconstruction, however, there was no longer any difference in body image between the two groups, and there were no differences in sexuality scores at 12 and 18 months after reconstruction.

“In patients who are oncologically eligible and strongly interested in breast reconstruction, efforts should be made to provide immediate breast reconstruction to decrease the interval of psychosocial distress, poor body image, and impaired sexuality,” the authors write.

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