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Patients Take To Catwalk After Breast Surgery

Armen Hareyan's picture

Breast Surgery

Patients are becoming models at a fashion show next week, to demonstrate how great they look after having breast reconstruction at the specialist Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The idea developed as a way to celebrate the difference breast reconstruction can make to the lives of women who have gone through breast cancer, and the devastating effect it can have.

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Aurea Ellis, a breast care specialist nurse at QVH explains: "Being diagnosed with breast cancer followed by sometimes months of treatment, and then being without a breast can have a devastating effect. Some women struggle with feeling that reconstruction is a cosmetic procedure, which is not the case. Breast reconstruction is part of the treatment, of helping put someone back together physically and emotionally. It is not a quick fix and it's certainly not right for everyone, but it can play a huge part in re-building someone's life."

Aurea continued: "Despite very specific guidelines from NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) [see note 4], We are aware that not all patients are being offered the entire range of breast reconstruction surgical procedures that are available. In breast cancer patients, reconstruction can be done at the time of initial surgery (to remove the breast cancer) or follow some time later, and patients have the right to choose their hospital."

Gaye Kasperuk, who is a QVH patient and also a model at the fashion show, believes that reconstruction is crucial. "I had my final reconstruction op at Queen Victoria Hospital." she said. "Without this I would never have got my life or confidence back and gone on to do amazing things like trekking in the rain forest. I've learnt the hard way that reconstruction is part of the healing process - it's allowed me to feel 'normal' again and has played a vital part in my recovery. I can never properly express how grateful I am to the surgeons at QVH."

Mr Martin Jones, one of QVH's team of specialist reconstructive breast surgeons, added: "I view breast reconstruction as a surgical journey, helping women get over the fact that they have been diagnosed with cancer, and towards making them feel whole again. They remain in the driving seat throughout."

Everyone is invited to the fashion show, which is at QVH in East Grinstead on Friday 23 November, 7pm, (tickets are