Did you know that Seattle is among the top three cities in the United States for Breast Cancer prevalence? My name is Christina Clarke and I am Miss Washington USA. I was shocked to hear such horrible news about a wonderful place filled with sparkling people and I really had no idea that this was a fact until I began working for a breast cancer survivor who happens to be one of the nation’s top plastic surgeons. Dr. Karen Vaniver is a breast cancer survivor who has the breast cancer gene (BRCA1), and is the granddaughter, daughter and sister of breast cancer survivors. If you get the chance to meet her, you will find that she is very special, but what makes her shine above the rest is that she has dedicated a large portion of her practice towards reconstruction for her beloved patients. Dr. Vaniver does so much more than reconstructing breasts, she helps reconstruct lives and I have been so fortunate to open my eyes to such a unique real-life experience as I get to be with the patients throughout their journey to healing and becoming whole. One way Dr. Vaniver helps patients through recovery is by facilitating a monthly support group called Girl Talk, which is dedicated to using breast cancer as a stimulus for positive life growth. From trying on prosthetics brought in by the Nordstrom Bra Fitters to listening to meaningful words from a local Buddhist teacher, our Girl Talk meetings are always enjoyable and rewarding.
I have gained a great deal of knowledge throughout my time at Seattle Plastic Surgery, but the most outrageous thing I’ve learned is how many women don’t get to learn. I know that sounds a little funny, but a staggering 70% of women don’t know that they have options for breast reconstruction post mastectomy because they are simply not being educated by their doctors. In 1998, President Clinton passed a law requiring insurance companies to cover breast reconstruction and currently, only 20% of breast cancer patients elect reconstruction to complete their recovery. In June of 2012, the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act (HR 5937) was introduced as a bill to get women the knowledge they deserve on their rightful options because reconstruction is a pivotal part of recovery for breast cancer patients. Please help me spread the word on the Breast Cancer Patient Education Act by spreading the word about BRA-Day (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) on October 17th, 2012. Thank you!
If you would like to speak with Dr. Vaniver about reconstruction or are interested in attending one of our Girl Talk meetings, please visit us at www.drvaniver.com or call (206) 292-6200.