- Question from Serfi: I am a 34-year-old breast cancer survivor with a 5-year-old daughter. I have had mastectomy on both breasts and breast reconstruction, but I did not have the nipples constructed. I am pretty comfortable like this but my daughter is asking when I will have them back. Should I have them made just for her if she is negatively affected by this?
- Answers - Paula K. Rauch, M.D. What's important is that you yourself feel comfortable with your body and that you help your daughter to feel comfortable with your body too. Five-year-olds often have questions about people's differences—the color of their skin, the shapes of their bodies—so curiosity may be playing a part. I would recommend that you help her get comfortable with your breasts as they are now and as you feel comfortable with them.
- Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., FAACP I think children take a lot of cues from their parents and if the mom is comfortable with her decision, that will ultimately be conveyed to the child. As your child gets older, you may give explanations about what has happened and that would be appropriate for an older child. But a 5-year-old will respond to your comfort with your body. Questions are very normal.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Talking With Kids about Breast Cancer featured Paula Rauch, M.D. and Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., F.A.A.C.P. answering your questions about specific ways to support your kids while you undergo treatment, and different communication strategies for helping your kids to feel secure during a time of uncertainty.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2006.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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