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.

Techniques to surgical breast reconstruction: Introduction

In the video below you will find a short overview of modern techniques used today (source:


Further below is a list of factors that help decide which technique may be suitable for you. The ultimate goal of breast reconstruction is symmetry between both breasts and these factors help to achieve this.

Factors influencing the choice of reconstruction

 The condition of the chest wall after removing part or the entire breast

 The following anatomical structures will have an important role to play when considering a reconstruction:

  • The presence of the anterior axillary fold.

  • The presence of the pectoralis major muscle.

  • The quality of the remaining breast skin.

  • The position and quality of scars.

  • The presence and / or condition of the nipple areolar complex.

  • The weight of the patient.

Generally, patients in whom the anterior axillary fold has been damaged, the pectoralis major muscle removed, with poor skin quality, bad scars, an absent nipple areolar complex and who are not very thin, are better candidates for autologous reconstruction. Otherwise, implant based breast reconstruction may be considered.

A small non-sagging breast can be reasonably well reconstructed with an implant. However, patients who will undergo, or who have undergone radiation therapy, are poor candidates for this form of reconstruction. Autologous tissue will achieve superior aesthetic results for larger volume breasts with moderate to severe sagging.

The contralateral breast

What ultimately happens to the contralateral breast (other unaffected breast) is determined by the patient. If she is satisfied with the shape and volume of her contralateral breast, no further intervention is required. However a breast augmentation, breast reduction or breast lift can be performed to improve symmetry.

Additional important factors

The choice of reconstructive technique is also influenced by the oncological requirements of surgery. Wide and extensive resections require reconstruction with microsurgical tissue transfer (free flaps). Post-operative radiotherapy is a contraindication to the use of implants. The logistics and technical capabilities of the plastic surgery team within the multidisciplinary framework are also an important factor determining the selection of reconstructive technique. Finally, patient expectations influence the final decision. Patients with high aesthetic expectations, requesting a stable long-term result will clearly benefit from an autologous reconstruction.