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BRA Day brings Breast Cancer Patients together for an education, connection, and support experience like no other.

The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (BRA Day) this year was organised jointly by the Plastic Surgery Department of The Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, and the Marie Keating Foundation. This year’s event sponsored by Pfizer was held at the Clayton Airport Hotel on Wednesday 19th October. The free of charge event offered a unique combination of education, support, and connection for breast cancer patients and for those patients who are contemplating risk reducing surgery and breast reconstruction as a result of e.g., a BRCA gene mutation (which predisposes them to develop breast cancer)..  This event is unparalleled and has become an annual event in the Marie Keating Foundation’s October event calendar. The seminar not only brings together a host of speakers from different supportive fields but also offers breast cancer patients and their families an opportunity to network and connect with both experts and others sharing a similar journey.

Dr Sinead Lynch

Another special element of this pioneering event is its hosting of a sensitively managed ‘show and tell’ opportunity where guests could meet with some women who have had each type of reconstructive surgery discussed to view and ask questions about their experience and results.

The overall aim of the event was to not only answer all patient’s questions and concerns regarding the clinical and surgical aspects of breast reconstruction, but also to provide an opportunity for patients to meet and support each other through their individual experiences.

As centres of excellence in breast cancer care and reconstruction, the teams at the Mater Hospital, Beaumont, St. Vincent’s, and St James, strive to always provide a world class level of holistic care for every patient that is tailored to the specific needs of each woman. It was with this in mind that the event aimed to feature specialists from as many of these hospitals as possible.

Speaking about the event Prof. Robert H Caulfield, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital said “We are delighted to be able to hold this event again after the 2-year hiatus caused by the COVID pandemic. This year we have expanded the day to include other plastic surgery and breast surgery units from all areas of Dublin, including Beaumont Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital and St James’ Hospital. We have also expanded the range and type of healthcare practitioners involved to include breast care nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, 3D nipple reconstruction specialists and surgeons.  However, ultimately, the most important people involved today, are of course, the patients themselves. The aim of an event like this is to provide all patients with all the necessary information and advice about their reconstructive journey. As with all areas of medicine, diagnosis, investigation, and management, both surgical and medical, continues to progress and develop year by year and so too must any educational and informative event such as BRA Day. We hope that this day will not only answer and address all woman’s questions and concerns, but also allow patients to help and support each other, making these journeys less confusing and hopefully easier for everyone.”

Mr Richard Hanson

Liz Yeates, CEO of the Marie Keating Foundation spoke at the event not only as a representative of the Foundation but also as someone who has been on a breast cancer journey and has had a breast reconstruction following mastectomy in 2013.  “To receive a breast cancer diagnosis is life-changing, it is difficult to process but then to have to consider all the different options presented to you in relation to surgeries, reconstruction, and treatment it can become a haze of information simply adding to the already incredible stress you are facing. That’s why this event is so important to us at the Marie Keating Foundation.  Our goal is to support patients and their families at every step of a cancer journey and this event equips breast cancer patients and the BRCA community in taking the right steps for their unique needs by providing the information and support to allow them to make that decision confidently”

Professor Maurice Stoles

In addition to the seminar, the event also hosted some specialist stands all tailored to breast cancer patients and showing apparel and support services. They included the talented Aishling Mahon, Irelands premier nipple tattoo artist, Roches, Forever Living, Balmain and HC21.

Goody bags were kindly provided by Shein for every guest.

This event will be hosted once again in 2023, videos of the event will be live on in the coming weeks – stay tuned to their social media for more information.

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