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Empowering Choices: Understanding Mastectomy Experiences

Empowering Choices: Understanding Mastectomy Experiences

In a groundbreaking effort to shed light on the experiences of Australian women who opt for flat closure after mastectomy, three advocates—Robyn Smith, Melanie Law, and Joanna Atzori—are leading a nationwide research study. Timed to coincide with International Flat Day on October 7th, as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the study is facilitated by the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University in South Australia.

The study invites women who have undergone mastectomy with a flat closure outcome, either for cancer or risk reduction, to share their personal experiences. The goal is to compile data that offers valuable insights into mastectomy patient experiences in Australia. The findings will not only contribute to a comprehensive understanding of available breast surgery options but also serve as a foundation for advocacy efforts supporting future generations of women undergoing mastectomy surgery.

Robyn Smith, a flat advocate from Canberra, ACT, emphasizes the lack of evidence-based data, support, and informational resources that prompted her involvement in the survey. She underscores the predominant focus on breast reconstruction, leaving little information about the valid and equal choice of going flat.

Melanie Law, a breast cancer survivor and flat advocate from Tumbi Umbi, NSW, points out three key reasons why flat reconstruction isn’t offered as a primary choice. She highlights the financial interests tied to breast surgery and reconstruction, societal assumptions about aesthetics, and healthcare professionals assuming that breast reconstruction improves mental health outcomes.

Joanna Atzori, a breast cancer survivor and flat advocate from Maroochydore, QLD, stresses the importance of changing perceptions surrounding flat reconstruction. She emphasizes that not every woman wishes to replace her breasts after mastectomy and hopes the survey will uncover unconscious biases in the medical community affecting the mental and physical outcomes of women undergoing mastectomy surgery.

The advocates collectively aim to elevate support, awareness, and advocacy for flat closure as a valid surgical outcome. They believe that offering flat reconstruction as a primary choice contributes to informed decision-making for women facing mastectomy. The survey, accessible to Australian residents until February 2024, ensures anonymity and confidentiality of participant information.

To contribute to this groundbreaking survey and be part of the change, Australian residents can participate anonymously at Survey


For more information or inquiries, contact programs@pinkhope.org.au. Let’s empower women to make informed choices about their bodies, fostering a future where all options are considered and respected.



Empowering Choices: Understanding Mastectomy Experiences


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