Plastic reconstruction surgeon shares battle with breast cancer

(WTNH) — Many of you know Dr. Beth Collins from her appearances on News 8 as a medical expert.

She’s one of the shoreline’s leading plastic reconstruction surgeons.

She’s helped breast cancer patients with their reconstruction and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer herself.

Dr. Collins is a woman who likes to stay on target. Skeet shooting is her hobby. It’s a chance to blow off steam.

After a day in her doctors coat working long hours as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, much of her work is with breast cancer patients. Everything changed a few months ago when the doctor became a patient.

“You don’t expect it to be you, but why not?” Dr. Collins explained. “One in eight women in the world get breast cancer.”

Related Content: Researchers studying genetic causes of breast cancer

Dr. Collins admits she put her own health on the back burner. It had been five years since she had a mammogram and she was in no rush to get one.

The 44-year-old says a phone call changed her life.

“It was Yale Radiology,” she said. “We have a prescription, what should be do with it? Since they had me on the phone I scheduled it.”

That mammogram showed she had cancer in her right breast, but what she decided to do about it is what some say is extreme.

Bilateral mastectomy.

“I removed both breasts and had an immediate reconstruction,” Dr. Collins said.

Related Content: Surviving Breast Cancer

Breathing becomes a challenge in the pain of recovery, but Dr. Collins says is essential to avoid pneumonia and infection.

“It hurts a lot to take a deep breath, but you have to force yourself to do it,” she explained.

Two weeks after her surgery and reconstruction, Dr. Collins was in a bikini and she says looking better than ever.

Double mastectomy is a trend breast specialists see more and more in women in their 30’s and 40’s. The easier, less invasive options are a lumpectomy and radiation or a single mastectomy.

Knocking it out is Dr. Collins’s style.

She wants women to make sure they explore all their options and get a yearly mammogram.

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