In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, new statistics have surfaced revealing a sharp increase in the number of women choosing to do breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy, especially those 18 years and older. The recent trend has been attributed to the brave breast cancer survivors who were not ashamed to share with the public their experience with the disease to help raise awareness. In recent years, news of actress Angelina Jolie undergoing both procedures has also helped boost the numbers of patients.

Mastectomy is one of the treatments of choice for breast cancer patients

The latest report that was published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) revealed their findings on the surging popularity of reconstruction surgery. In particular, the findings revealed that women older than 65 are most likely to make the decision. In a span of 5 years, specifically 2009-2014, the percentage of seniors that underwent reconstructive surgery increased by a sharp 140%. It should be noted that breast cancer often strikes women of this age bracket.

The study also emphasized that women of another age group, especially those who have undergone the surgery, increased by a whopping 65%. It has also been revealed that more women living in urban areas include this procedure as part of their Breast Cancer Treatment.

Anne Elixhauser, a senior scientist at AHRQ and co-author of the paper, however, noted that the issue may be due to a lack of access to facilities that offer such options in rural locations.

The operation is now made easier as it is becoming more available as an outpatient procedure. The report noted an increase of 150% in those who go through the surgery in ambulatory outpatient facilities.

Policy changes are also said to have influenced the trend as health insurance plans now cover the operation as part of cancer treatment after mastectomy. Medicare and Medicaid, on the other hand, now pay for breast reconstruction.

Men help in breast cancer awareness campaign

In line with the breast cancer awareness campaign, organizations like the American Cancer Society and a number of medical doctors take time to educate the public about how the disease impacts the lives of patients.

John Nicholson and Dr. Ali Hachem from The Cancer Center of Huntsville will spearhead the campaign, which may involve putting on pink socks, shirts, and neckties for the entire month. The campaign helps raise money, which will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Campaign donations are useful for research, and assistance for patients and their families throughout the course of treatment. Kaki Morrow, Development Manager of ACS Community, said the campaign helps spread breast cancer awareness on a local scale. She even highlighted that fact that a number of men have gone out of their way to raise money for both awareness and research. For Dr. Hachem, he personally uses the campaign as an effective way to educate people on the fact that while breast cancer is considered a serious disease, it is common and treatable.