TODAY | December 05, 2011
>>> back now at 8:22 to talk more about giuliana and bill rancic . we're also joined by dr. kathy ann joseph , a professor of surgery at new york university 's medical center and the director of the breast service southern manhattan. dr. joseph , welcome.
>> thank you.
>> good morning to all you have once again. dr. joseph , what are the choices, as this is a very personal decision. what are the factors that a woman must weigh before she decides to foe with a double mastectomy.
>> almost all my patients that have to undergo a mastectomy, i always refer them to a plastic surgeon for reconstruction . you know, and then they decide -- the plastic surgeon decides what type of reconstruction options they can have and if they can have reconstruction . most women, if they're healthy, they can undergo reconstruction . sometimes they can't if they're very ill or so forth, but almost all women can have reconstruction and we do like them to have it immediately. i think that's so important for their psychological well-being.
>> what giuliana was mentioning is that she was able to see someone's breasts after reconstruction and that that took a lot of the fear away. is it fair to say that reconstruction today, double mastectomies and reconstruction today are not the same as they were for our mother's generation?
>> it's so much different. it's come such a long way. we have much more options. the surgery itself is not as morbid as it was 20 years ago. and the reconstruction itself just looks so much better. it looks so much more natural. so i think it's so -- it was such a good thing that you did, giuliana , to look at someone's reconstructed breasts. it takes -- it doesn't look -- you were worried about what it looked like.
>> that you would be mutilated. it's not. it looks very, very natural. so the options that we can do for a patient is so much better now.
>> we've been overwhelmed with e-mails from our "today" show viewers as a result of your being on the broadcast and being so public about it. but have there been moments as you've been going through this process where you wish you had not chosen such a public life , given how personal and painful this really is to kind of go through this?
>> yeah, it is very personal, but at the same time it's just the way we've chosen to live our life, you know. we see it as an honor to be able to share our story and help people and let them feel less alone. so my gosh, i mean i've been given this incredible platform and you allowing me to be here on the "today" show to talk about this issue that affects so many people. all of us are in it together. it's like you, i think we love helping people.
>> it's a privilege.
>> it truly is a privilege. i'm happy to do it.
>> on twitter kristi is writing women all across the country are standing behind you.
>> so there is this kind of opportunity. you talk about it being a platform. we should remind people that you discovered your breast cancer because of a mammogram.
>> because it was required by the ivf doctor.
>> what do you want to say about that? i can see that there's an emotion right now.
>> yeah. i think when i hear from those women and especially after the double lumpectomy, that's what got me through my recovery so quickly is reading those messages. but the most important thing is my gosh, was i fortunate that i went to my doctor, i got a mammogram and i am choosing to get the mastectomy because i can and it will save my life. i just beg all women to get checked.
>> giuliana , bill, dr. joseph , thank you so much all three