WHAT IS BREAST CANCER AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. It is the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Each year it is estimated that over 252,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,500 will die. Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,470 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 460 will die each year. On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes. Over 3.3 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the United States today.
POST TREATMENT OPTIONS
"YOU HAVE CANCER" are the three words no one ever wants to hear. Being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the most devastating things that can happen to anyone. But there is hope because with the advancement in the field of medicine and technology, breast cancer treatments have come very far and offers patients many choices in treatment. Between surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and prevention, there are many treatment options for breast cancer. Find out more information from the National Breast Cancer Foundation here: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-treatment
Types of Treatments We Offer
The most common breast cancer treatment are mastectomies. Breast cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies are left with large scars and no areolas due to the surgical procedures. Often, it leads to feelings of depression and self-conscious thoughts and there are few options other than temporary stick-on plastic areola nipples. We offer a more semi-permanent solution.
Whether you have a unilateral or bilateral treatment, we can recreate a 3-D areola and soften any scars from the surgery. The finishing touch to breast reconstruction is having your nipple areola tattooed. Micropigmentation is a simple and fast procedure that is a fraction of traditional nipple reconstruction surgery which involves surgical procedures and skin grafting.
For unilateral mastectomies, we can create a new nipple areola to match the existing breast. If you had bilateral reconstructions, we can use preoperative photos to recreate and match your nipple color, or you can pick a new color that you like against your skin tone. As with any tattoo, the pigment will fade in time. Getting the right shade of color may require more than one tattoo procedure.
BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SURGICAL SCAR CAMOUFLAGE
Surgical scars from breast cancer mastectomies, breast augmentation and reductions, and reconstructive surgeries are often unsightly. We can camouflage the scars to make it less noticeable, and in some instances, virtually undetectable. By blending and matching the scar tissue to your natural skin colors, the tattoo will camouflage any scar tissues. Depending on the size of the scarring, treatments are non-invasive and can be completed within one to two sessions.
Nipple areolas in both men and women change color through a variety of factors. Age, genetics, exposure to sunlight and even our dietary preferences can change the color of our nipples and areolas. Areola repigmentation can restore a more youthful look by lightening extremely dark nipples, off-colored or discolored nipples or recreating symmetry and color balance. If you feel self-conscious when going to the beach or showering in public due to extremely dark colored nipples or pigment defects, areola repigmentation is the answer. The procedure is typically fast and can be done in one to two sessions. Keep in mind that going from a lighter color to a darker color is more effective. Going from darker tones to lighter tones is achievable, but may take longer due to strength and darkness of your areola color.
Medical Insurance Coverage
THE FEDERAL WOMEN'S HEALTH AND CANCER RIGHTS ACT OF 1998
The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) contains important protections for women with breast cancer who choose to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. It was signed into law on October 21, 1998. The US Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services oversees the WHCRA.
The WHCRA applies to all group health plans (except Medicare and Medicaid), health insurance companies and HMOs, if the plans or coverage provide medical and surgical benefits for a mastectomy. Under WHCRA, mastectomy benefits must include coverage for:
reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed
surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical or balanced appearance
the prostheses (or breast implant)
any physical complications at all stages of mastectomy, including lymphedema
Mastectomy benefits may have a yearly deductible and coinsurance (a form of insurance in which health costs are insured for less than the full amount and the patient is responsible for the difference) but they must be like those established for other benefits under the plan or coverage.
The WHCRA will not allow plans and insurance issuers to deny patients eligibility or continued eligibility to enroll or renew coverage under the plan to avoid the requirements of WHCRA. The law also requires insurance providers to notify you of this coverage at the time you enroll in their plan, and every year after that. Several states have their own laws requiring health plans that cover mastectomies to provide coverage for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. However, not all health plans are subject to state law. Contact your state’s insurance department to find out whether protections in addition to WHCRA will apply to your coverage if you are not in a self-insured plan. The federal law applies to those plans that aren't currently covered by state law and sets a minimum standard for securing this service for all women in all states. This includes states with weaker laws and those without any laws on this at all.
The WHCRA is a complex law. If you have questions or concerns about it, please contact the US Department of Labor's toll-free number at 866-487-2365. You can also call your health plan directly (a number should be listed on your insurance card) or your State Insurance Commissioner's office (a number should be located in your local phone book in the state government section). For more information, go to the US Department of Labor website at: https://www.dol.gov/
At Natural Effects, we will work with your insurance company for any areola reconstruction and repigmentation procedures. Every woman suffering from breast cancer or has gone through mastectomies have a right for insurance coverage under the WHCRA.