Women who wish breast reconstruction: characteristics, fears, and hopes

D. J. Keith, M. B. Walker, L. G. Walker, Steven Darryll Heys, T. K. Sarkar, A. W. Hutcheon, O. Eremin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The aims of the present study were to identify the characteristics of a consecutive series of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer and to evaluate the perceived benefits and disadvantages of breast reconstruction. A consecutive series of 125 women completed the Breast Reconstruction Questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. The median age was 48 years (range, 28 to 75 years). A total of 49.6 percent (n = 62) indicated that, if it were possible, they would like breast reconstruction. Logistic regression (simultaneous entry) revealed that younger women (p = 0.0001) and more depressed women (p = 0.026) were more likely to wish reconstruction. Marital status, tumor size, extroversion, neuroticism, and tough-mindedness did not independently predict the desire for reconstruction. If given a choice of reconstruction at 3 months or 6 months after mastectomy, of the women who wished reconstruction, 74 percent would prefer it at 3 months. Of the women who wished reconstruction and expressed a preference, 63 percent were afraid reconstruction might mask recurrence, 39 percent were afraid that reconstruction might cause the cancer to return, and 89 percent thought they would be concerned with their appearance after the operation. Positively, 94 percent considered that reconstruction would be beneficial in terms of their self-esteem, 86 percent indicated that reconstruction would give greater freedom to wear any clothing, and 86 percent thought that the cosmetic appearance of breast reconstruction was better than that of a prosthesis. Concerns about recurrence were common. A better understanding of the concerns of women with regard to reconstruction would allow more informed preoperative discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1056
Number of pages6
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003




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