UM Hospital has an excellent cancer facility, and as breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women, many cases of breast cancer are treated here at UM. However, many post-operative women choose not to go through breast reconstruction. Why?
A study here at UM (Comprehensive Cancer Center) discovered that 44% of surgeons (n = 365) do not refer the majority of their patients to a plastic surgeon for breast reconstruction. Only 24% of surgeons reported referring 3/4 or more of their patients for reconstruction.
Furthermore, less than 20% of women who could qualify for breast reconstruction undergo the surgery. In the study, published in this month’s edition of the journal Cancer, 57% of surgeons reported they believed breast reconstruction was not important to their patients, 64% believed their patients were not interested, and 39% thought patients were concerned reconstruction would take too long. About half of the surgeons indicated that they thought their patients were concerned that reconstruction would cost too much, despite a 1998 federal law which mandates breast reconstruction be covered by insurance.
The surgeons most likely to refer their patients to a plastic surgeon tended to be female, with affleunt patients, and to practice in settings where many plastic surgeons were available.