Bringing Hope and Confidence to Breast Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer changes lives. It affects the body and mind of patients who rely on the support of family, friends, community, and medical care to reach survivorship.

But those who reach survivorship are still reminded of the scarring experience they endured. Dr. David Straughan of Lakeland Regional Health sees survivors in their final cancer chapter before survivorship. His role in their journey is to reconstruct their confidence and breasts after surgery, to bring closure to a difficult time- and he sees this as an immense privilege.

David Straughan

Plastic/Reconstructive Surgery

“I always knew I wanted to be a surgeon, particularly a plastic and reconstructive surgeon because I get to help people every day; people who are distraught from their cancer diagnosis, treatment, and surgery. For patients with breast cancer, I am often the last “step” of their recovery. I get to say to them ‘You made it through and, after reconstructive surgery, you are going to fall in love with your breasts again.”

Meet the Expert: Dr. David Straughan

As a double-board certified surgeon, Dr. David Straughan specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery and is fellowship-trained in craniofacial reconstruction and facial aesthetics. He completed his residency at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and completed three fellowships at Massachusetts General Hospital, the National Institute of Health, and Tulane University School of Medicine.

Dr. Straughan sees a variety of patients wanting a range of services from cosmetic surgery, post-breast cancer reconstruction, skin cancer removal, and more.

“My goal is to treat every patient with the respect that they deserve. Whether I am meeting a patient on their worst day or discussing cosmetic surgery, I want them to know that we are on a journey together as a team.”

Lumpectomy, mastectomy, and breast reconstruction all in one.

Dr. Straughan commonly performs breast reconstruction, but what does that mean? Breast reconstructions are performed alongside lumpectomies and mastectomies. Depending on the patient’s individual cancer, diagnosis, and treatment plan, Lakeland Regional Health’s surgical oncologist, Dr. Vanessa Prowler, works with women from the beginning of their breast cancer diagnosis to surgery to remove the cancer.

When Dr. Prowler and her patients decide on a mastectomy, she collaborates with Dr. Straughan to create a surgical plan that brings confidence, peace, and health back to the patient. Many patients may decide to make a surgical plan with Dr. Straughan for breast reconstruction. In these cases, Dr. Prowler will remove the breasts that are affected by a mastectomy. Then, Dr. Straughan will go in to fill the void after removing all the breast tissue, using breast implants. For patients who choose to have breast reconstruction during a lumpectomy, Dr. Straughan will rearrange the breast tissue, tighten the skin, and lift the breast when Dr. Prowler has completed her surgery.

Are there benefits to breast reconstruction?

“When patients see me, we talk about the whole picture. You have a whole life to live, and studies show that women who choose breast implants and reconstruction after a mastectomy or lumpectomy have more confidence and improved quality of life.”

Many patients may feel uneasy or unsure about breast implants or reconstruction because of the pain or stories they have heard. However, there have been advancements in plastic surgery that allow Dr. Straughan to perform more efficiently so patients experience less pain now and less animation deformity for patients who live active lifestyles.

“We have altered the operation and do implant above the pectoral muscle rather than underneath the muscle. This is much less painful, and many of my patients are going home the same day after their mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.”

After a long battle with breast cancer, Dr. Straughan wants to bring empowerment and confidence to patients who may be nervous about plastic surgery options. He starts the initial conversation by asking how patients feel about their breasts. He typically hears that patients want more lift or a reduction, and the beauty of his practice is that each patient has a truly individualized care plan that will meet each of their unique needs.

What sets Dr. Straughan apart?

“I am dedicated to helping patients take their minds off cancer, and feel confident and beautiful. I like to keep things light in my clinic, and we will become best friends whether you want to or not!”

Dr. Straughan creates a lasting relationship with his patients. Depending on what type of reconstruction the patients have, he sees them one week before surgery, two weeks after that, and then at least one more after surgery.

“It's a scary time, but we're here to try to make the journey as smooth as possible at the Hollis Cancer Center. From the person answering the phone, our nurses, OR staff–all of us are here to care for you. Our goal is to bring the person on the other side with a better outcome than they started with.”

About Our Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Options

At Lakeland Regional Health, we listen to our patients to understand their goals and to discuss realistic expectations with them. Whether you are interested in cosmetic surgery or need reconstructive surgery, our Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery team is ready to serve you and provide a positive care experience.

Call to schedule an appointment at 863.284.1698 today.

About Our Breast Care Program

Our Breast Cancer Program is fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, overseen by the American College of Surgeons.

To make an appointment with one of our Breast Program care providers at our award-winning Hollis Cancer Center, call 863.603.6565 today!