In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, RealSelf Trends partnered with legal guidance website Avvo to discuss one of the many hard decisions a woman faces while battling breast cancer: breast reconstruction.

It’s a small but growing RealSelf community. With just over 1,300 reviews, the reconstruction community is only 4% as large as the breast augmentation community, but it’s growing faster. Over the past five months, the number of users interested in reconstruction after a mastectomy has been up an average 64% compared to the previous year.

Women most often come to research doctor photos; in fact, doctor photos and Q&As account for more than half of a user’s pageviews. Women interested in breast augmentation, meanwhile, tend to stick to photos featured in patient reviews. (More than 60% of their pageviews go to review photos.)

Researching the surgery, however, is just one of the dozens of difficult, time-consuming tasks a woman considering breast reconstruction after a mastectomy has to face. Often at the top of the list is finding out whether or not insurance will cover the procedure at all. Thankfully, the verdict is often a good one thanks to the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA).

[TWEETBLOCK text=”Tweet this”]”Today I’m six months out and cancer-free. I can tell you that it’s a wonderful thing to just keep moving forward.”[/TWEETBLOCK]

Thanks to WHCRA, if your group health plan covers mastectomies, the plan must provide certain reconstructive surgery and other post-mastectomy benefits.

“In other words,” explains Avvo, “if you and your doctor agree on a post-mastectomy plan that empowers you to feel like you, you are entitled to be covered for that procedure.”

Women who’ve had breast reconstruction say it’s worth it. In fact, the procedure has one of the highest approval ratings on RealSelf. 97% of women say the procedure was time well spent. They also stay consistently happy with the treatment. Five years after surgery, 96% of women still say the operation was worthwhile.

Katie* is one of those happy women. “Today I’m six months out and cancer-free,” she writes in her RealSelf review. “I can tell you that it’s a wonderful thing to just keep moving forward without the tramp. Yes, I called cancer a tramp. She’s a homewrecker. She came in my body and took my boobies. That’s OK but she didn’t take my fighting spirit.”

Interested in learning more about any of these procedures? Ask a doctor

*Name has been changed to protect user’s privacy.