Bra Shopping After Breast Cancer Surgery
Bra shopping after breast cancer surgery can be difficult. Perfect fit bras are a thing of the past for women who have undergone breast cancer surgery.
The other day I was watching my favorite morning news show. This month the news been airing segments for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A segment called “The Perfect Fit” came on that really lit my fire-but not in a good way.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the local news show decided to talk proper bra-fitting. The bra was placed on a mannequin that had normal breasts.
Suddenly, it dawned on me that the story wasn’t for me, a breast cancer survivor. The story was not about bra fitting for women who had undergone breast cancer surgery! I felt that the segment was very insensitive.
This segment missed the mark for breast cancer awareness. In fact, it did not discuss breast cancer survivors at all and we have a hard time finding a bra that fits right.
Since the segment was about awareness of breast cancer and breast health, shouldn’t the segment have focused on how to find a good fitting bra or prosthesis after a mastectomy or lumpectomy? I wondered if I were the only breast cancer survivor yelling at the TV!
Perfect Fit Mastectomy Bras
In my opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect fit bra after a mastectomy. Whether breast cancer survivors have decided to go flat or have breast reconstruction, there is no such thing as a perfect fit anymore.
Therefore, it is very hard finding a perfect fit bra after a mastectomy. Especially if you have a single mastectomy and you are missing a breast or the reconstructed breast doesn’t match the other. Good luck finding a bra to fit a regular and reconstructed breast!
The thought of bra shopping after breast cancer surgery was exciting to me. After my first reconstruction surgery, I was relieved to start wearing regular bras again. I’d spent the past 6 months in surgical compression bras (which were too damn tight!) and sports bras.
So, I ran out to purchase some new bras so that I could feel halfway normal again. Although the fitting went well, below are a few things that I learned that may be helpful to you.
Tips for Bra Shopping After Breast Cancer Surgery
Tip #1 Shop at specialty bra stores.
Find a store that specializes in bras for women who have undergone breast cancer surgery.
Tip #2 Don’t overlook lingerie and department stores.
If you do not live near a specialty bra store, bra and lingerie stores such as Soma may be helpful. My advice is to call before you go to the store. You can find out if the store has a sales person who is familiar with mastectomy fittings. That way there will be no surprises or weirdness from when you arrive for the fitting. And don’t rule out your local mall or department stores. Some of them sell post-mastectomy bras, too.
Tip #3 Don’t buy more than you need.
Don’t buy a lot of bras until you have completed all of your reconstruction surgeries. When I was given the go ahead to wear regular bras, I went sort of bra crazy. I spent a lot of money on beautiful bras, only to find out that I would need another breast reconstruction surgery.
Tip #4 Look for soft, seamless bras.
The shape and material of the bra is very important. Unfortunately, I did not get to wear all of the bras I bought. Some were uncomfortable when they rubbed against my scars over a long period of time (such as an 8-hour workday). Others fit too close to my underarm where the lymph nodes were removed.
Tip #5 Choose comfort over sexy.
Seriously. Especially if you’re going back to work. You don’t want to be pulling and tugging at your bra all day. If you’re trying to get your sexy back or want to look sexy for your partner, buy a pretty bra that you’ll only wear for those occasions.
Tip #6 Buy comfortable camisoles.
Buy a couple of camisoles with a built-in shelf bra if you’re going through breast reconstruction with a tissue expander. After every expansion session where the doctor injects saline in the expander, I did not want to wear constricting bras, especially since my chest muscle took a while to relax after the saline injection.
Boutiques for Women with Mastectomies
I tweeted about my frustration with the Perfect Fit segment. To my surprise, a local black-owned company reached out to me. The company, Cherry Blossom Intimates, seeks to help breast cancer survivors and all women find good-fitting bras. The company also provides specially made prostheses to match your skin tone.
The Cherry Blossom Intimates Grand Opening is October 28-November 3, 2018. I plan to share my review of the store and services in an upcoming post.
Black and Topless friends, do you have any bra fitting advice for women who have just undergone breast cancer surgery? If you know of boutiques for breast cancer survivors in your area, we’d love to hear from you!