Save Your Breast

A Kinder, Gentler, More Beautiful Approach to Breast Reconstruction

For Family & Friends


According to the American Cancer Society, three out of every four American families will have at least one family member diagnosed with cancer. Trying to manage fears of a loved one’s mortality, the changing family roles, having your own needs met, and uncertainty about saying the right words at the right time are all totally normal responses that can easily surface when someone you love is diagnosed.

Often, there is a feeling of inadequacy along with the feeling that there are words out there, and if you only knew what the ‘magic words’ were, you could make the patient feel better. There can also be a profound feeling of helplessness, of not knowing what to do as you struggle to comprehend your own feelings, and, at the same time, provide reassurance and support. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect.

Although every woman and every situation is different, we offer some help passed along by people who have been in the position you find yourself in now.

Tried and true advice: When someone you care about has been diagnosed with breast cancer…

Key Strategies:

  • Listen. Your friend or loved one is facing many emotions that will feel new and uncharted. You don’t have to respond to everything she says. You don’t have to have answers or make suggestions regarding treatment. Just sit quietly and let her express all she cares to tell you. No need to recount stories of other women you know who have had breast cancer. The kindest thing you can do is to be a good listener.
  • Understand that “feelings are facts.” Is she angry? Scared? Lost? Just let her feelings be and keep in mind that every woman reacts differently to being diagnosed with breast cancer. As well meaning as you are, don’t tell her things like – “Stop worrying,” or “There’s no good to come from being angry.” Allowing her to express whatever she needs is a gift you can give her.
  • Express how much you care. Showing affection, telling someone you care about them is like food for the soul, particularly when a woman is facing something so difficult.

After their surgery

  • Send cards. Everyone knows how good it feels to open the mailbox and find kind words from a friend or relative. Many women line those cards up on their dresser just to remind them that they are loved.
  • Bring over a cooked meal. What could be more thoughtful than delivering a home-cooked dinner to someone recuperating from surgery? Frozen pizzas can get mighty old!
  • Help with the practical “daily life” things. Call as frequently as you sense is helpful but not intrusive. If you’re in the neighborhood, pay your friend a visit–but only after you ask if she’s up for it.
  • Offer to find support. Are there support groups in your community? Ask if she’d like you to find some options. You may even want to go to the first meeting with her.
  • Don’t ask much of her. You will certainly have your own feelings to deal with when a friend faces breast cancer. But don’t look to her for emotional support. If she senses your worry or anxiety, it will only make matters worse.

During treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy

  • Don’t suggest a different treatment than she’s having. Your friend and her doctors will determine what’s best. She may have doubts about her treatment, but she needs to discuss those thoughts with her physician–not with family and friends.
  • Keep up the emotional support. Going through treatment is difficult for many women and, unfortunately, family and friends often think that she only needs their caring attitude and acts when first diagnosed or after surgery. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • Help with errands and childcare. You might even make suggestions. Can I come over and do your laundry? Do the kids need a ride to and from school? Can I watch the kids any day this week? Do you need anything from the grocery store? Being specific will make her feel less like she’s inconveniencing you or asking too much.

And after…

Be aware. Be patient. Even though the obvious struggles are over, it is still on her mind. You don’t need to ask pointed questions (“Will you be getting more treatment?”). Just ask how she’s doing and then, as we said earlier, LISTEN.

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Get in Touch with the Save Your Breast Team

If you have questions about breast reconstruction, my staff and I are happy to help. By working with a team of Southern California's most experienced breast reconstruction surgeons, radiologists, and nurses, we are able to provide women with the best possible options for one of the most life-changing and rewarding surgeries. Please contact us online or call (949) 759-0980 for more information.

Dr. Nirav Savalia

PIONEER & FOREMOST EXPERT ON ONCOPLASTIC BREAST SURGERY

Dr. Savalia is known for the most innovative, advanced breast reconstruction techniques. He is a board certified plastic surgeon and artist who creates the most natural, elegant, personalized aesthetic results. He is as renown for his care and compassion as he is for extraordinary outcomes. This is why he was named one of Orange County’s Physicians of Excellence by his peers.

A Team Approach for the Best Breast Care Possible

Dr. Savalia’s Breast Health Center team includes the finest oncologists, radiation specialists, geneticists, and nurse navigators. Being cared for by an established team is a great advantage for patients.

"I prefer a light-handed approach that leaves my patients looking visibly rejuvenated, not surgically enhanced."

What Dr. Savalia's Patients Are Saying

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Dr. Savalia is a very gifted surgeon and has true artistic ability. I would HIGHLY recommend Dr. Savalia for any type of plastic surgery. He truly exceeded my expectations. I feel very fortunate to have worked with him and his team and if I ever have any need for a plastic surgeon in the future he will be my first choice.

- RIMA, AGE 55

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