Some women are lucky enough to survive breast cancer, but the scars live on with them forever.
Both the physical and emotional scars affect survivors and often they affect each other. As an expert in skin aesthetics I can provide some guidance on those physical scars and what’s available to treat them.
Everyone has a unique story and as a result what happens to their breast is also aesthetically different. Some women are left with a small biopsy scar, while others are left with a single or double mastectomy scar. A small biopsy scar can still cause big issues. Infection or abnormal healing can cause the area to scar quite obviously. This is called hypertrophic or keloid scarring. Hypertrophic is where the scar tissue has exceeded the boundaries of the original incision lines, and keloid is more of a raised lumpy scar. The same can happen with a mastectomy scar except on a much larger area of the chest. A double mastectomy, for example, is usually two vertical scars taking up nearly the entire width of the chest.
Seeing these scars every day can be an upsetting emotional trigger for most women, and understandably so. If ‘we’ as doctors or skin experts can do anything to improve the look of scars, then we can have a positive impact on the women mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Treatment for your scars should start from day one. Listen to your surgeon and follow his aftercare closely. If given the okay at six weeks post-op by your doctor, then scar treatment may begin.
Your skin expert may offer silicone gel to apply (although I prefer the silicone patches), laser treatment or collagen induction therapy. Depending on your skin type and how your body is healing itself, will depend on what treatment is right for you and how many times you’ll need it. Make sure you consult with someone experienced in treating scars. Unfortunately there are a small percentage of women whose only option is to have the scar reviewed (redone).
For the best results on these types of scars, I recommend collagen induction therapy with a Dermastamp (Dermaroller), laser genesis (Cutera) and fractionated laser treatments.
*please note: the treatment for your cancer is the number one priority. Only once you have been approved by your treating doctor, will scar treatment begin.