Before, after and during Breast Cancer you have so much to think about, some of those questions are around Mastectomy bras and breast forms.
Do I need a Mastectomy Bra and Breast Prothesis?
How do I choose the right Mastectomy Bra?
How will I know my Bra Size or Cup and Prothesis Size?
Can I wear Underwire bras after a Mastectomy?
How much do Mastectomy Bras and Prothesis Cost and is there Government assistance?
Breast Prosthesis weights- what does this mean?
How do I care for my Mastectomy Bras?
How Do I Care for My Prosthetic Breast Forms?
In conjunction with all of our Breast Care Breast Cancer articles we aim to give you a well rounded view about everything you need to know. Statistics, research as well as experience from women who have been through it.
Do you need a Mastectomy Bra and Breast Form? Yes and no.
It’s really individual choice and there is no right of wrong answer, it’s a question of what feels right for you.
Honestly, I think there is something liberating with the thought of “going flat” or “breast-less”, but I haven’t been in that situation so that may change. I do wonder if I would miss my girls having them be gigantic and it would feel really different without. Not to mention that I would miss my curves and femininity that I feel and have grown to love, after decades of NOT liking them… It’s a nice space to be when you do except yourself as you are… But I digress.
I have been researching and interviewing breast care nurses and fitters for many years and some will say, if you have had a bi-lateral mastectomy and choose to go “breast-less” over time they have seen women begin to slouch. You see, one of the reasons we have breasts is to improve our posture and it’s the natural physiology of our bodies. This may start to happen after approximately one to two years.
Get advice from your breast care nurses and there is a variety of women who have shared their experience below.
Single Mastectomy- This is where I would recommend wearing a breast form. Like the Bi-Lateral Mastectomy, due to the physiology of the female’s bodies you may find that it will put you off balance. It could also put extra pressure on your back, neck and shoulders because the weight isn’t evenly distributed.
• Seek as much information as possible.
How do I choose the right Prothesis and Mastectomy Bra?
When you’re looking at your prosthetic breast forms a cool little trick to know is that a good quality breast form should bounce back when you touch it. When you cuddle someone you want your breast form to bounce straight back to it’s original shape. Look for the latest technology in breast forms- the companies are constantly researching and developing new, more life-like, lighter and more comfortable styles. A poor quality prosthetic will discolour, get air pockets and become lumpy, however all of these things are the manufacturer warranty issues so take it back to the store you purchased it from.
Like all fashion bras, you get good quality and not so good quality mastectomy bras. It varies by brand and where they are made so you need look for good quality materials, shape and a well-structured bra that feels comfortable to you!
It must be professionally fitted! Otherwise it may be extremely uncomfortable, your prosthesis may not fit well into the pockets and you’re wasting your money.
How will I know my Bra Size or Cup Size?
It is recommended that you get fitted with a prosthetic and a mastectomy bra to provide symmetry for your body-shape.
If you have had a single mastectomy, the prosthesis needs to match your remaining bust shape- your bust must look even under a top. Your fitter will always start your fitting by getting the best fitting bra to match your remaining breast- then she will match the prosthesis to give the same- symmetry. One side should not look different to the other in bust height or projection. Sometimes your body shape will have changed during the cancer treatments- so don’t expect to be the exact bra size you were before.
Can I wear Underwire bras after a Mastectomy?
For the first 12 months it is best to wear a non underwire bra because your scar may be sensitive as the inner layers of healing will need time and it will irritate and maybe even hurt. Later on, it is even more important to get properly fitted if you do start to wear underwire bras again- as a poor fitting underwire may push on the lymph nodes under the arm area and in very rare cases Lymphoedema may occur. Now days Mastectomy bras are designed to give you a great shape and support even without wires.
How much do Mastectomy Bras and Prothesis Cost?
Mastectomy Bras range from AU$52 up to AU$140- the life span of your bra should be 2 years.
Prosthetic Breast Forms range from AU$237.50 up to $459.00, with the Australian Government Medicare Rebate providing $400 per prosthesis every two years. If you are eligible there are reputable prosthesis brands that will not cost you more than this rebate. Your Fitter will be able to assist you with the Medicare paperwork for you to claim back the cost.
The Prothesis price depends greatly on the Brand chosen, personally I love that Trulife take the rebate into consideration to ensure women get everything they need with minimum to no outlay.
Breast Prothesis Weights- what does this mean?
The quality of the materials used and the technology used in manufacture. The technology used determines how light the form weight can be. The weights range from full weight to different percentages of lightness and each brand has their own lightweight scale of forms on offer.
Full Weight Breast Form- Is the natural weight of a breast,
15% Lighter- Is 15% lighter than the natural weight of a breast,
35% Lighter- Is 35% lighter than the natural weight of a breast, and so on.
Worldwide there is a need for lighter prostheses and ONE manufacturer has now perfected ones up to 45% lightweight (It's called Sublime), which are priced under the Medicare Rebate too!
How do I care for my Mastectomy Bra? Treat the same a your fashion bras- handwash or use a lingerie wash bag in a gentle cycle in the washing machine.
How do I care for my Prosthetic Breast Forms?
Think of you prosthetic breast form like your body.
Remember to wash it everyday when you take it off, even if worn in a cover or in a bra pocket- the natural body oils will affect the form’s outer layer over time if not washed.
Use a mild liquid detergent- (without excessive antibacterial chemicals or perfumes) and warm water and gently wash the form, rinse thoroughly and let it dry before you wear it again.
If you would like more information on the 45% breast form Sublime, please contact Toni Truda: email@example.com.