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Breast cancer survivor tells her story of mastectomy, reconstruction, recovery

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mastectomy is a fairly common surgical treatment for breast cancer, just as breast reconstructions are a popular follow-up procedure for people with the disease. Ohio resident Karen Vrtovsnik had not one individual or one bilateral mastectomy, but two single surgeries back to back.

She recently told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that her multiple surgeries occurred over a span of five years. Vrtovsnik said that she first discovered she had breast cancer during a routine mammogram in 1991.

After having the affected tissue removed, she recovered and raised a family. Five years later, the mother of three found a tumor in her other breast.

Vrtovsnik underwent a second mastectomy, this time with a breast reconstruction, the newspaper noted.

Though today she has once again been diagnosed with cancer - this time in her bones - she emphasized that she's remained optimistic through all of her treatments.

""Hope is my favorite word. That simple four-letter word is my life,"" Vrtovsnik told the news source. The local Susan G. Komen Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure, held on September 17, will benefit women like her.

Vrtovsnik is one of the 93,000 cancer survivors who pursue breast reconstructions each year, as tallied by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Brett R. Cancer survivors share tales of hope: Regina Brett. Cleveland Plain dealer. September 4, 2011. http://www.cleveland.com/brett/blog/index.ssf/2011/09/cancer_survivors_share_tales_o.html Accessed September 14, 2011.

2010 Reconstructive Demographics. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2011. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Documents/news-resources/statistics/2010-statisticss/Patient-Ages/2010-reconstructive-demographics-breast-surgery-statistics.pdf Accessed September 14, 2011.

Extract: Mastectomy is a fairly common surgical treatment for breast cancer, just as breast reconstructions are a popular follow-up procedure for people with the disease. Ohio resident Karen Vrtovsnik had not one individual or one bilateral mastectomy, but two single surgeries back to back.

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