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.

Establishment of the Beautiful A.B.C. Foundation

Although it did not have the name, logo, structure or all the faces it has now, the seed of the Foundation was planted in fertile ground  on a sunny February day  in 2011, on the shore of Lake Geneva , Switzerland. 


Annette is a blonde, American filmmaker who lives in London, a woman full of energy and of life, with a wonderful sense of humor and a contagious laugh. She is also a breast cancer patient, one of the many patients with a difficult story of recurrence. That day she was there for her 1 month post-operative visit after her last operation, and she was already feeling well and beautiful again. She started talking about her story, about how difficult it had been to get the adequate information to make critical decisions, and that she felt lucky that she had finally been able to thanks to a combination of determination, research, the right contacts. She had to fight for the right decision, which fortunately, she had the resources to do. The doubt of undergoing the right treatment is a terrible companion and she felt lucky because she had been able to experience the peace of having taken the right decision for herself about her treatments. She wanted to help other women have easier, quicker access to information. Only one month after surgery she felt already ready to give.

Phillip is a reconstructive surgeon who has dedicated his life to breast surgery. He is renowned for his dedication to research, for his scientific publications, for the many fellow-plastic surgeons from all over the world he has trained, for his presence at international conferences and for his natural skill to transmit his knowledge. For those who work with him, his most remarkable qualities are the warm humanity he uses with his patients, and the total inability to say no to somebody who presents him with a new and interesting project, even if he does not have the time. 

In 2006, to increase awareness and knowledge of available options for post-mastectomy reconstruction, he wrote a book in Dutch that explained aesthetic and reconstructive breast surgery in language that was accessible to the general public (“Mijn Borst”). 

The day Annette told Phillip she wanted to help other women get information in an easier way and with a positive attitude, Phillip showed her the presentation about the book project, told her about the expenses needed to cover for the shootings, to prepare and print the book, to distribute it. Annette immediately offered to help, but we all already knew that the synergy between these two persons was about to create something more ambitious than a book. 

Laurent and Rossella are two reconstructive surgeons in love with breast surgery. They were working with Phillip that day, trying to steal all the tricks from the master and friend. They felt lucky to be in the right place, at the right moment to see Beautiful ABC coming to life and immediately engaged with the challenge. The development was time and energy consuming for everybody and their constant efforts in pushing the project forward has been fundamental.

They were there when, during a brainstorming in Phillip’s car, the name came out, when the logo was designed, when other volunteers started to join the group: volunteers like Johan and Christine were recruited from family and friends of patients and other volunteers, like Colin, were colleagues.

The foundation was officially founded by Annette and Phillip on March 30, 2011 in Gent, Belgium to increase awareness and raise funds for research and practice in the area of reconstructive breast surgery.

The first act of the Foundation was to develop a website to continue the educational outreach: the intention was to create a site that was objective, professional, clear, and easy to read and navigate. Phillip, Colin, Laurent and Rossella worked tirelessly together to prepare the medical contents of this website. Presented originally in Dutch and English, translations of the site will be developed in the future in French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Russian. 

The second act of the Foundation was to begin fund raising for medical research and practice in the area of reconstructive breast surgery. Information about the various projects and events we developed in support of the Foundation can be found on our website.

In the meantime, more patients joined the group, like Sylvia and Virginie. Every person added a different point of view: Sylvia is a mezzo soprano singer and hosts a radio program, Virginie is a successful business woman. All of us involved our family and friends to work for the projects and the number of volunteers and supporters is growing every day. 

Being an heterogeneous group with a common goals has certainly become our strength and now the foundation has its own identity card, a defined structure, rules, a scientific board, international chapters, annual meetings and everything it takes to be a strong organization to the benefit of fellow patients.