Hearing you have breast cancer is a devastating blow for any woman. The treatment and journey back to health is usually exhausting, scary and emotional and often requires one or both breasts removed in a mastectomy. Whilst reconstruction after a mastectomy is an option, it is an expensive one and costing up to $20,000 or more many women can’t afford it. Dr Ross Farhadieh, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Sydney & Canberra tells us what many women are not aware of is that you can have the procedure performed for free through the public system at The Canberra hospital.
Having her breasts removed can affect a woman’s self-esteem, her sex drive and how she sees herself as a woman. While obviously getting healthy is the most important priority, having your breasts reconstructed afterwards can be the final and important step in being able to move forward with your life.
Free Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Dr Farhadieh currently performs around two or three major microsurgical breast reconstructions per month at the Canberra Hospital, however says he and his team could do more if they received better funding. “If I have operating theatres and resources, I could do two or three every week,” he says. Publicly funded, women can currently access the procedure for free by being referred to the plastic surgery department at The Canberra Hospital.
Dr Farhadieh says the tried and tested multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer is the best one. “It should include specific specialty-based expertise: general surgery, plastic surgery, oncologists, radiation oncologists, as well as nurses specialising in care for breast cancer patients. To this end, we collaborate and cross-refers patients to general surgical colleagues so that a complete surgical plan can be devised.”
Dr Farhadieh says part of the problem is that he and his colleagues don’t get to see the breast reconstructive patients to begin with. “The first filter is the GP who sends them to the general surgeons and a lot of the general surgeons just don’t send these patients to us. Either they send them to private surgeons in private practices or they do their own implant-based reconstruction so the patient never has the opportunity to have a discussion with a plastic surgeon in the public system about what it is that we do.”
Dr Ross Farhadieh is one of Australia’s most highly trained plastic surgeons. He is internationally recognised as a leader in his field, so to access his expertise through the public system in Canberra for your breast reconstruction is something worth considering. In Sydney he operates at the Chris O’brien Lifehouse institute for cancer reconstruction. Founder of Panthea Clinics located in Canberra and Sydney, Dr Farhadieh also does many other plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures, and his clinic also does all the latest non-surgical procedures by some of the best practitioners in the business.