RGCIRC emphasizes reintegrating women breast cancer survivors

This initiative brought together plastic and reconstructive surgeons, breast onco-surgeons, oncologists, psychologists and body positivity activists under one roof to ignite hope and empower survivors

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New Delhi: Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCIRC), in partnership with PROJECT I AM ENOUGH – led by Siya Tayal, organized a Breast Reconstruction Awareness Program to destigmatize breast reconstruction surgery and empower cancer survivors with knowledge on rehabilitation into society, fulfilling their wishes and aspirations.
The global incidence of breast cancer is projected to increase from 2.3 million new cases in 2020 to surpass three million by the year 2040. The event highlighted the significance of breast reconstruction, a vital aspect of cancer recovery, and emphasized various techniques such as autologous tissue transfer using the body’s own skin and fat.
By addressing the physical and emotional aspects of breast cancer survivorship, the event aimed to provide holistic support and guidance to individuals on their journey toward reclaiming control over their bodies and lives. This initiative brought together plastic and reconstructive surgeons, breast onco-surgeons, oncologists, psychologists and body positivity activists under one roof to ignite hope and empower survivors with knowledge about their options.
Dr. A K Dewan, Director – Surgical Oncology at RGCIRC gave insights into evolution of breast cancer care in India. “The landscape of breast cancer care in India has undergone significant transformation over the years. From early detection methods to advanced surgical techniques, we have made remarkable progress. Today, the focus is not only on treating the disease but also on improving the quality of life for survivors. Breast reconstruction plays a crucial role in this holistic approach, helping women regain their confidence and sense of self.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, and the most common cancer among Indian women, comprising about 27% (164,000 per year) of all female cancers according to ICMR. Mastectomy, the surgical removal of one or both breasts, is a common treatment for breast cancer. While this procedure can save lives, it leaves women physically and emotionally scarred. Breast reconstruction emerges as a critical component in the holistic care of women who undergo mastectomies. Less than 1% undergo reconstruction in India in contrast to 30% and 20% in the UK and US respectively.
Breast reconstruction serves as a transformative procedure that helps restore a sense of normalcy and wholeness to breast cancer survivors. By recreating the breast mound, reconstruction enables women to regain their feminine identity and enhances their body image. Studies have shown that breast reconstruction contributes to a significant improvement in overall quality of life and mental health outcomes for breast cancer survivors.
Dr. Ranjan Arora, Senior Reconstructive and Micro vascular Surgeon – Surgical Oncology at RGCIRC talked about various techniques introduced in breast reconstruction. “Breast reconstruction has evolved with advancements in medical technology and surgical techniques. Today, we can offer procedures such as autologous tissue transfer, where a woman’s own skin and fat from tummy, back or thighs are used to recreate the breast. This method provides a more natural look and feel, and reduces the risk of rejection and complications.”
Led by esteemed breast care specialists, the panel delved deep into the nuances of breast reconstruction surgery, providing attendees with comprehensive information and insights. Discussions ranged from the technical aspects of the procedure to navigating the mental and emotional challenges associated with breast cancer.
Dr. Samarth Gupta, Attending Consultant, Reconstructive and Micro vascular Surgical Oncology at RGCIRC provided information on post operative care and reaching normalcy of life beyond cancer. “The aim is not just to restore physical appearance but also to address the psychological impact of cancer. Through awareness and education, we aim to empower survivors to make informed decisions about their post-cancer journey. Post-operative care is crucial in ensuring a smooth recovery and helping survivors reintegrate into their daily lives with confidence.”
The panel seen the participation of other prominent breast oncologists like Dr Rajeev Kumar Sr. Consultant & Chief of Breast Services, RGCIRC and Dr Vaishali Zamre, Senior Consultant & Unit Head (Breast Cancer Surgery, Unit II), RGCIRC. The organizing committee led by Dr. Samarth Gupta and Dr. Nikita Gupta, Visiting Consultant, RGCIRC played a key role in making the event successful.
The event also served as a platform for survivors to connect with each other, share experiences, and find support in a community of individuals who understand their journey firsthand.
As breast cancer awareness continues to grow, initiatives like the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Program play a crucial role in ensuring that survivors receive holistic care that addresses both their physical and emotional needs. By fostering a supportive environment and providing access to information and resources, such programs pave the way for a brighter, more hopeful future for survivors.