Meet Our Advisors: Corine de Boer, MD, PhD

Meet Our Advisors

Our Advisory Council consists of leaders in the professional community who have generously donated their time and expertise to advise the “Not Putting on a Shirt” Board of Directors. We sat down with them to talk about who they are and why they support aesthetic flat closure.

Corine de Boer, MD, PhD

Advisor, Medical & Research

Corine de Boer is a physician, wife and principal of her own consulting company. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and opted for a double mastectomy. Her female breast surgeon in Seattle was very supportive of her flat choice and did a great job but Corine has since learned, to her dismay, that this is not the case in other parts of the country. She fully supports the mission of Not Putting on a Shirt so every woman who chooses to go flat after mastectomy has a satisfactory outcome.

Dr. de Boer’s assistance was invaluable in getting our 2018 and 2019 Survey data presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December 2019, and she has also assisted in reviewing information we provide on this website. Thank you, Dr. dr Boer, for your help as we work together to #putflatonthemenu!

Tell us about your work and how aesthetic flat closure came on your radar screen.

“I am the Chief Medical Officer of MAPS PBC, a Public Benefit Corporation that is working on healing and well-being through psychedelic drug development and therapist training programs. We are currently developing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. Flat closure came on my radar screen in 2015 when I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and chose that option. My female surgeon honored that decision but it came to my attention through social media and the work that Kim is doing that is not the case in other parts of the country.”

What do you think patients facing breast cancer surgery should know about “going flat”?

“Patients facing breast cancer surgery should know that “going flat” is a valid option that should be given to each and every person. If the provider seems hesitant to discuss that option, it is best to go for a second opinion. After the surgery, the chest could feel a bit tight (the “iron bra”) and that could improve over time and there are options such as self massage with Bio-Oil. The chest area could be less sensitive to touch but that is not always the case (e.g. I personally never lost sensitivity).

“Lastly, and that’s not discussed often, losing your breast may have an effect on your sex life; however, that also takes time and overall the relief of being done with any surgeries and having faced the diagnosis of breast cancer is with a good outcome, at least in my personal opinion takes the big positive prize. A friend in a same sex relationship told me that prior and I still think it is good to at least mention. Of course, one’s sex life is very personal and I don’t want to open the can of worms that women are not female without our breast as that is not the case and I feel very comfortable being flat (and preferable to DD physically).”

What do you think providers should know about aesthetic flat closure?

“Providers should discuss the pros and cons of each option for breast cancer surgery clearly and without any bias. If a provider personally favors one option over the other, they should refer that patient to a colleague who may not have that bias. I also think it would be great if there is  e.g. a folder with all the options included that a patient can take home. Such a folder should have all options included (with pictures) and preferably a phone number where a patient could talk with breast cancer survivors who choose the option mentioned. I am thinking of a phone number for NPOAS where someone could talk to a patient who went flat and shares his/her experience and answers questions. You already do that and to avoid bias, preferably there would be a phone number for a patient to talk to representatives who choose any of the other options.

“Patient need to have time to digest the information and then make an informed decision about their choice.”

In your view, what are the most important barriers to parity for aesthetic flat closure and how should we address them?

“The most important barriers to parity for aesthetic flat closure is the fact that not all providers are aware of that option; plastic surgeons are generally more into “beautifying” their patients and unless they have heard the stories of patients like yourself and others in the community, are not aware of the problem. So getting out the information, as early as possible in medical school and residency training, and providing all clinics who are seeing breast cancer surgery patients with a folder explaining what aesthetic flat closure is from both the technical perspective and the patient perspective would be great.

“More scientific papers about the topic would be helpful, e.g. setting up a study where patients would fill out questionnaires prior and after their surgery and Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) about satisfaction with the results using a Likert scale may be an option.”

Disclaimer: Any and all information published by Not Putting on a Shirt (NPOAS) on behalf of a third party is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for medical or legal advice from a licensed professional. Views expressed and claims made by third parties do not necessarily represent the views of NPOAS.


Published by Not Putting on a Shirt

Founder of Not Putting on a Shirt, a mastectomy patients' rights organization that advocates for optimal surgical outcomes for patients going flat.

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