Should law require breast cancer patients to consult a plastic surgeon?

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EUGENE, Ore. - Stacie Sisk was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.

The news devastated the newly wed.

Sisk had reconstructive surgery months after a series of lumpectomies that left her with a breast that "pretty much looked mutilated."
But she said plastic surgery made her feel like a woman again.

New Yorkers recently passed a law that requires hospitals to inform breast cancer patients about the availability of reconstructive surgery.

Eugene plastic surgeon Dr. Kiya Movassaghi wants to pass a similar law here in Oregon.

"I think the plastic surgeon needs to be part of the cancer team," he said.

He said the earlier he sees a patient, the better the results.

"It allows me to assess the patient's anatomy beforehand so I know what they look like beforehand," he said, "and therefore I can give the patient the best advice for reconstructive options."

Dr. Movassaghi told KVAL News the best results come when surgeons leave the breast and nipple skin behind during a masectomy.

But is adding a plastic surgeon to the surgery team safe?

KVAL News asked Eugene surgeon Dr. Kristian Ferry if leaving the skin puts the patient up for a higher probability that that cancer could come back.

"That I think was a barrier for us doing complete envelope sparing procedures" where the surgeon leaves the breast and nipple skin, Ferry said. "But the answer really is no. There has been no data."

But Ferry said a law mandating a consultation with a plastic surgeon isn't the answer because reconstructive surgery isn't appropriate for everyone.

Older patients and heavy smokers may not be good candidates.

In those cases, ferry says the information could add stress and confusion to an already tense time.

Movassaghi says he just wants to give people the option.