Breast cancer patients denied cosmetic surgery

24 March 2011

Breast cancer survivors in the UK who undergo mastectomies are being denied cosmetic surgery after their procedures.

According to new figures published by the NHS Information Centre, just one in five of the 16,485 women who had a mastectomy between January 2008 and March 2009 had immediate reconstructive surgery.

This is despite guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which claims all women undergoing mastectomies should be offered reconstructive breast surgery.

Commenting on the situation, Chris Caddy, consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told the Independent: "In an ideal world, there would be more women having reconstructions.

"We want to use this report to drive up the quality of reconstructive surgery and tell patients this is what we [plastic surgeons] do and this is what you need to ask for to get a better result."

Recently, Cancer Research UK claimed that one in eight women in the UK are affected by breast cancer at some point during their lifetime.

Posted by Edward Bartel


1 "One woman in eight will get breast cancer". Cancer Research UK. Friday, February 4th 2011.


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A Spire surgeon comments

Mr Arikoge Ogedegbe, consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon at Spire Hartswood and Spire Roding Hospitals in Essex: 
"Breast cancer diagnosis is increasing with more young and fit women being diagnosed with the disease. We now live in an era where we are extremely concious about our body image. The recently concluded national Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Audit* confirmed the take up of reconstructive surgery is low. Several factors account for this including information, awareness and availability of skilled surgeons.

"Reconstructive surgery for breast cancer is performed by plastic and reconstructive surgeons and by oncoplastic breast surgeons who treat both the breast cancer and have the skills to carry out the reconstructive procedures.

"There is no excuse in 2011 for any woman who requires a mastectomy for breast cancer to be denied reconstructive breast surgery. All women being treated should ask their surgeon or breast care nurse about reconstructive surgery. This is available locally at Spire Hartswood and Roding Hospitals, and nationally throughout the Spire network."

* Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Audit: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/mbr

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