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UPMC, Local Artists Join Forces to Honor Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 14, 2013 - Fewer than a quarter of the women undergoing breast cancer-related surgery in the U.S. are fully aware of their breast reconstruction options or the quality of the surgical outcomes they can expect. This year, UPMC and local artists are joining forces to call attention to the benefits of breast reconstruction for mastectomy patients with artistically rendered mannequin busts on display at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, the Hillman Cancer Center and UPMC Passavant.
“Informed decision making from the beginning of breast cancer treatment through its conclusion offers women the best hope of physical and emotional recovery from the disease,” said Carolyn De La Cruz, M.D., assistant professor of plastic surgery at UPMC. “By raising awareness of reconstruction, hopefully more women will explore the options available to them.”
According to Dr. De La Cruz, women who have undergone breast reconstruction post-mastectomy report restored feelings of wholeness and femininity, but despite the overwhelmingly positive experiences, only a small percentage of women choose reconstructive surgery.
The mannequins, decorated by local artists including Laura Jean McLaughlin, Jim West, Katy Dement and Sandy Kessler, will be displayed throughout the month beginning Oct.16, which is National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. The display will culminate in an auction of the mannequins on Nov. 6 at the Andy Warhol Museum.
An informational table with educational materials will accompany the displays. Information will include the wide variety of breast reconstruction options, the quality of surgical outcomes women should expect from reconstructive surgery, and the importance of timing breast cancer treatments with breast reconstruction surgery.
“We want to help women undergoing any form of breast cancer surgery to understand their reconstructive options,” said Dr. De LaCruz. “

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