Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanical Engineering Professor Hopes Study Will Lead To Improved Life For Breast Cancer Survivors

Date:
November 14, 2003
Source:
University Of Texas At Austin
Summary:
Most women with localized breast cancer will survive. Improving life’s quality for survivors motivated Dr. Tess Moon, a mechanical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin, to direct a study of the biomechanical properties of healthy female breasts.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Most women with localized breast cancer will survive. Improving life’s quality for survivors motivated Dr. Tess Moon, a mechanical engineering professor at The University of Texas at Austin, to direct a study of the biomechanical properties of healthy female breasts. She hopes her work leads to more natural-looking reconstructed breasts after a mastectomy.

“Most doctors see this as a secondary issue, where the main issue is getting at the disease,” says Moon. “But several studies have demonstrated that at least acceptable reconstruction helps women emotionally and psychologically deal with and eventually thrive in spite of their disease. I also hypothesize that as breast reconstruction becomes more aesthetically acceptable, women will be less reluctant to seek treatment.”

For women like Moon’s mother, who has survived three bouts of cancer and a unilateral mastectomy over the last 40 years, a healthy reconstruction of her former self would have eased some of the emotional trauma of living with the ongoing threat of the disease.

“I don’t even think reconstruction was an option for her,” says Moon. “I believe my mother, like many women of modest means, didn’t dare to expect or hope for more than to live. They just seemed to resign themselves to lifelong ‘disfigurement.’”

Reconstruction was considered elective surgery, making it too expensive for most women. Now, she says, federally mandated insurance coverage has made post-mastectomy breast reconstruction an affordable option for those women whose insurance includes treatment of their breast cancer.

Moon also hopes her study will provide an accurate portrayal of the reconstruction options available to breast cancer patients. Mastectomy patients often have unrealistic expectations of the look and feel of their reconstructed breasts. When patients are unhappy with their surgery, they return for additional surgeries, leading to higher costs for both patients and insurance companies.

Moon’s project, performed in conjunction with researchers at U.T. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, will study the mechanical properties of the breasts of 50 healthy female volunteers between 18 and 65 years old. Skin from the upper abdomen, frequently used in breast reconstruction, will be included in the study as well.

Each volunteer’s breasts will be divided into 24 segments, and skin elasticity, thickness and other tissue elements will be recorded. From these measurements, researchers will develop computer models of the breast and upper abdomen by combining information such as ethnicity, age and menopausal status. Moon expects the project to begin Nov. 1 and last about a year.

“Detection and treatment of the disease is clearly first priority for most people, because it’s essential. However, as my mom is a tribute, there is life after breast cancer. Reconstruction appropriately reminds women that their focus should be on living, not just getting by—or worse, preparing to die,” she says.

Prospective volunteers can e-mail REALSurvivors@www.me.utexas.edu for more information. More information is also on the REAL Survivors Web site (http://www.me.utexas.edu/REALSurvivors/).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas At Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas At Austin. "Mechanical Engineering Professor Hopes Study Will Lead To Improved Life For Breast Cancer Survivors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031114072014.htm>.
University Of Texas At Austin. (2003, November 14). Mechanical Engineering Professor Hopes Study Will Lead To Improved Life For Breast Cancer Survivors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031114072014.htm
University Of Texas At Austin. "Mechanical Engineering Professor Hopes Study Will Lead To Improved Life For Breast Cancer Survivors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031114072014.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins