Your personal guide
Your personal guide


Your personal guide

When up to a third of women post-mastectomy regret their decision to have or not to have breast reconstruction surgery, and many more feel they did not have adequate information to make the correct decision, something needs to be done. That something is BRECONDA (Breast RECONstruction Decision Aid).

BRECONDA is an online intervention tool designed to help women with breast cancer – or with a genetic susceptibility to developing the disease – to make an informed decision about breast reconstruction and the most appropriate type of reconstruction.

The online intervention tool was developed by Professor Kerry Sherman (Doctor of Philosophy, 1999) from the Department of Psychology and her international

team of breast surgeons, oncologists and researchers, and with input from female participants. “BRECONDA was developed in recognition of the immense challenges that women face in making these breast surgery decisions,” says Sherman.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the most stressful events in a woman’s life.

“Women are likely to be in shock, and it is a difficult time to be making important decisions within a very short timeframe. You can think of BRECONDA as almost holding the woman’s hand, guiding her through the relevant information she needs to make a decision, including the advantages and disadvantages of all the available options, and helping her to decide what is important for her personally.”

That is why the information provided by BRECONDA is easy to understand and use. The free decision-making tool, available online through Breast Cancer Network Australia, empowers women to consider their options for breast reconstruction.

“This is the first such decision aid for women considering breast reconstruction and is unique in its design, as we acknowledge how stressful it is to make such decisions.

“We provide video guidance on managing stress and also feature video interviews with other women who have gone through this decision-making process, and photo galleries that provide examples of different types of surgery,” says Sherman.

Best of all, women all over the country – including in metropolitan and regional areas, even overseas – are able to access this trusted service from the comfort and safety of their own home at a time that is convenient to them, and research supports the efficacy of the tool.

Ultimately, breast reconstruction is a very personal decision that needs to be made in discussion with healthcare providers after reviewing all available options. BRECONDA is helping women everywhere do just that.

Professor Kerry Sherman won an Excellence in Research award for her work on BRECONDA. Her key areas of expertise include breast cancer survivorship, including lymphoedema risk management, distress, sexuality and body image following a cancer diagnosis.

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