WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons say 70 percent of women are never told about all their post- breast cancer reconstructive options, and some make surgical choices without knowing all the facts.
This Wednesday, October 17th has been designated Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day to highlight the advances in surgical techniques and outcomes women can expect.
Kim Sport isn't shy about showing breast cancer patients her own body. She had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery at the same time, and says she couldn't be happier with the results.
Sport explains, "I felt it was very, very important to share that experience with other women because I didn't want them just to have to look at a photo."
In fact, some women are never shown surgical results, or that there are newer, cutting-edge techniques that can improve outcomes tremendously.
Dr. Alex Mesbahi is a reconstructive surgeon in McLean, Va.
He says, "Often times we'll see patients in here that have the mastectomy and just were never told that they could have the reconstruction at the same or not at all."
"That's the point of the Bra Day on Otober 17th. Its just an ability for women to empower themselves and educate themselves so this really can't happen anymore."
At the National Center for Plastic Surgery in McLean, women can see an iPad full of examples of what different reconstructive techniques look like. Dr. Mark Venturi says they often work together with breast surgeons from the start on how the breast will be reshaped after a tumor is removed; they call it "onco-plasty," bringing oncology and plastic surgery together.
Dr. Venturi says, "The old goal of breast reconstruction was to have the patient look normal with a bra and clothing on. Since that time, with advancements in technology and reconstructive surgery, the new goal is to actually have your breasts look better than before you were diagnosed with breast cancer."
Women like Kim say they are living proof such outcomes are possible. And singer-songwriter Jewel is lending her voice in support of this campaign. She's written a song
with proceeds benefitting the breast reconstruction awareness fund.
Jewel says, "When I was writing this song, there were a lot of survivors that came to mind and I'm always continually amazed at how resilient women are. How when faced with with a difficult position, they find the courage to say, " I gonna fight on and I'm even gonna be better."
To find out more on how to download Jewel's new song, or to get information about BRA Day, click here on the website www.bradayusa.org.