Flat Closure NOW is an education and advocacy group dedicated to ensuring breast cancer patients and providers understand that “going flat” is a valid, beautiful, and healthy surgical option after mastectomy.
Breast reconstruction rates have soared 35 percent since 1998 when Congress passed the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA). The WHCRA mandated health insurance companies to pay for breast reconstruction after a woman undergoes a single or double mastectomy due to cancer. Passage of the WHCRA was a welcome relief for women who could not afford to reconstruct. But the WHCRA had unintentional consequences for women who want to go flat.
In recent years, breast cancer patients, especially young women, are pressured to reconstruct even when that choice does not align with their stated values and priorities. And it’s come to our attention that, when a woman does choose to go flat, her decision is often denied either due to structural paternalism that leads the surgeon to “leave extra skin in case she changes her mind” or because the surgeon lacks the necessary skills to leave her chest flat and smooth.
As an organization, Flat Closure NOW is dedicated to working with health care providers to develop clear language that leaves no ambiguity about what a woman means when she says she wants to “go flat.”
The unified voice of Flat Closure NOW will also work to root out and disrupt paternalistic and protectionist notions among breast care providers that “surgeons know best” and that all mastectomy patients must reconstruct to feel “whole” or “happy.”
1. TO DISRUPT: the mainstream narrative that all mastectomy patients must reconstruct to live happy, whole lives;
2. TO OFFER: clear language to breast cancer patients who desire a flat outcome after mastectomy;
3. TO SUPPORT: efforts to train surgeons on flat closure techniques.
between patients and providers
cancer patients deserve control over their bodies and decisions
to make a fully informed surgical decision
Acknowledgement of Paternalism:
which must be untangled from breast cancer care
Amplify Voices: of all patients
Transparency and Accountability:
in all aspects of care