While curing breast cancer remains the primary focus of those working on advances in early detection and treatment, cancer specialists recognize the importance of quality of life for patients who are living longer.

Local plastic surgeons are helping cancer patients recover in two areas.

For those having total mastectomies, Dr. Paul Rollins and his colleagues at Conemaugh Physician Group – Plastic Surgery are available to stand by and follow up with breast reconstruction surgery.

Patients who select breast conservation surgery instead of mastectomies usually face radiation therapy. Although it is not common, radiation treatments can lead to long-term tissue and bone damage in the chest area. Plastic surgery and new applications of old technology can help improve healing, Rollins said.

At Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown and Somerset Hospital, hyperbaric oxygen chambers are being used to improve wound healing and tissue damage in cancer patients and others.

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