Beautiful After Breast Cancer Foundation


Modern medicine is increasingly transitioning towards preventive care. This shift towards prevention has also been observed in breast cancer care in recent years, particularly with the discovery of the BRCA gene. Subsequently, multiple genes and risk factors have been identified. Depending on these factors, a personalized screening strategy can be chosen. Therefore, it is crucial to understand these genetic and risk factors.


I was diagnosed with cancer ... This website serves as a portal designed to assist you and your loved ones in accessing personal information and finding solutions to your concerns.

The primary goal of this website is to offer guidance and support to patients as they navigate their journey toward recovery and improved quality of life. The "Diagnosis" section of our website is divided into two main categories. Firstly, under "Anatomy and Physiology," we provide fundamental knowledge about the breast. Secondly, in the "Tumors and Disorders" section, we delve deeper into various breast-related conditions.

Moreover, we aim to provide information to women who may be concerned about potential breast issues but are hesitant to seek immediate medical advice. Knowledge and information can often offer immediate reassurance if a woman is able to identify the issue herself and determine that no specific treatment is necessary. Conversely, we also strive to educate women who have received a diagnosis of a serious breast condition, such as breast cancer, and wish to approach their doctor well-informed and prepared.


The treatment for breast cancer should immediately include a discussion about reconstruction. Our foundation has no greater goal than to raise awareness of this among patients and oncological surgeons. By making an informed decision beforehand, we avoid closing off options for later reconstruction while still considering the oncological aspect. Of course, survival is paramount, and the decision of the oncologic surgeon will always take precedence.

The "Reconstruction or not?" page contains all the information you can expect during an initial consultation before undergoing tumor removal. This page is comprehensive, and your plastic surgeon will only provide information relevant to your situation.

"Removing the tumor" details the surgical procedure itself. This is the most crucial operation because effective tumor removal remains paramount. We guide you through the various methods of removal, a decision often made by a multidisciplinary team comprising oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, radiotherapists, breast nurses, gynecologists, oncological surgeons, and plastic surgeons.

The "Breast Reconstruction" section includes information and illustrations of the different reconstruction options along with corresponding steps.


Those treated for cancer often need a long period to recover.

Cancer is a radical illness with a heavy treatment. Often, people have to deal with psychosocial and/or physical problems afterwards, such as stress, anxiety, extreme fatigue, painful joints, reduced fitness, lymphedema... This can have a major impact on general well-being.

There are rehabilitation programmes offered by most hospitals. We cover some of the major topics here.

Quality of life

Quality of life is a key factor in coping with breast cancer. Therefore, it is important to find coping mechanisms that work, which will be different from patient to patient. For some, it may be finding enjoyment in activities they engaged in prior to diagnosis, taking time for appreciating life and expressing gratitude, volunteering, physical exercise... Of prime importance, studies have shown that accepting the disease as a part of one’s life is a key to effective coping, as well as focusing on mental strength to allow the patient to move on with life. In this section we are addressing some topics that patients experience during and after treatment and we are providing information to address them.

Abdomen - Introduction

The most common donor site for autologous reconstruction is the lower abdomen, between the umbilicus (belly button) and the pubic area. The skin and fat in this region resemble the natural consistency of the breast and many women have excess tissue in this region. Removing it has the additional benefit of improving the aesthetic appearance of the abdominal wall.

There are a variety of ways to transfer this tissue and the TRAM (transverse rectus abdominis musculo-cutaneous) flap was first described in 1979. During the 1980’s and 1990’s this was the standard method of autologous breast reconstruction. Refinements in surgical technique now mean that it is possible to use this same donor area without sacrificing the underlying rectus abdominis muscle.

Methods of transferring the autologous tissue from the lower abdomen include;


  1. The pedicled TRAM flap: The donor tissue is kept attached to the underlying rectus abdominis muscle. The muscle is divided at its lower end and rotated through a subcutaneous tunnel onto the chest wall. The origin of the muscle stays connected to the edge of the rib cage and therefore the blood supply to the tissue always remains intact.
  2. The free TRAM flap: In this procedure only part of the rectus abdominis muscle is sacrificed but its blood supply is completely disconnected. The deep inferior epigastric vessels are divided in the groin and then microsurgically reconnected to similar vessels in the chest wall or in the arm pit. It takes about 60 minutes to re-establish the blood supply.
  3. The DIEAP flap: The Deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap preserves the entire rectus abdominis muscle. The blood vessels supplying the overlying skin and fat are carefully dissected. The deep inferior epigastric vessels are again divided in the groin and microsurgically reconnected to the vessels in the chest wall or arm pit. It also takes about 60 minutes to re-establish the blood supply.