The intelligent choice

When you’ve had a mastectomy, there will be choices that you’re faced with that you hadn’t even thought about previously. Arm yourself with knowledge, so that you’ll be able to make the intelligent choice. Know which questions to ask, for instance, what kind of bra should I be wearing?

I can’t emphasise enough how important a good fitting bra is. Your breasts are as good as the bra that carries them. If you’re going to wear external breast prostheses – the best fitting begins with the bra. It makes sense that if your bra doesn’t fit well, your external breast form will not fit well either.

Post-mastectomy bras have specialised features as they’ve been designed for a special need. Look out for the following features when choosing your bra:

• Good separation between the cups, so the cups can hold the breast forms in place and prevent them from moving towards the cleavage area.

• A post-mastectomy bra should provide coverage appropriate for the surgical site, which means the bra should be a little higher in front and should hug the chest wall to prevent the bra from “opening up” when you lean forward. It should have generous underarm support to cover the surgical site where lymph nodes may have been removed.

• It should also have soft breathable pockets inside the cups to hold the prostheses securely.

Remember your bra should be as comfortable as your earrings – you shouldn’t even be aware that it is there.

External breast prostheses – it is important that the bra fits the breast form and not visa versa! Forcing the breast form into a small cup will exert pressure on the breast form; this may lead to splitting or deterioration in the quality of the breast form.

External breast forms are available in a wide range of styles, sizes and textures, so be sure to be fitted by a professional in order to find the breast form best suited shape of your remaining breast, in the case of a single mastectomy.

Bilateral mastectomy patients should be fitted with light-weight breast forms, such as the Naturalwear Harmony Silk or Sublime Aris, which is 30% lighter than the traditional external breast forms.

P.S. – When purchasing external breast prostheses, enquire if there is a guarantee. Preferably a two-year guarantee as most medical aids only provide for external breast forms every second year.

If you wish to comment on this article or have a question, please write to me at [email protected].

Written by Natie Spangenberg.