Lingerie Options after Breast Surgery

By Elisabeth Dale

Are designers meeting the needs of breast cancer patients?

This October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month saw the launch of a new educational initiative to make women more aware of their surgical options after mastectomy and lumpectomy.  This new BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day was created because surveys showed that few women knew about their choices. And only one out of 4 women decide on breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

This may be due to a lack of information but not all patients are medically eligible for such procedures. Radiation or other therapies that damage skin make some poor candidates for implants. Others don’t have enough extra body fat to rebuild lost tissue. Some women don’t want to risk the uncertainty of additional operations. In the majority of cases, these patients are left with two exterior prosthetic alternatives: (a) using a standard breast form that fits inside specially designed pocketed bras, or (b) buying a custom-made breast prosthetic that matches their former bust proportions.

It’s difficult to imagine the medical and bra fit challenges this group of women must face. But there are those working hard to meet both the functional and fashion needs of those who have undergone breast surgeries.  Brands such as Amoena, Anita Care, and Royce have made it their mission to develop new designs in stylish swimwear, bras, and breast forms (available now in many sizes and made of lighter weight materials). Other manufacturers offer limited mastectomy bras within their lines. Woman can buy a fashion forward Marlies Dekkers mastectomy bra, or a pocketed Body Rock Sport bra. Veronica Brett, new to mastectomy swimwear, has created beautiful and innovative products that work to cover specific surgical sites and scars.

Surgical reconstruction wasn’t an option for my mother when she had her mastectomy in late 1960s. Doctors had not yet perfected the cutting edge techniques used today. But my mother’s breast form and bra choices were also very limited. That isn’t the case for the 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today.

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4 Discussion to this post

  1. Elisabeth Dale (@TheBreastLife) says:

    Thanks, Janet, for sharing your company’s information and for the variety of bra and breast form choices you offer women post-mastectomy and lumpectomy. The more women that know about all these options, the better!

  2. Natalie Palmer says:

    Thanks for the great information. I had no idea there was a BRA Day, great idea! As a woman who did not have reconstructive surgery after my mastectomy I feel we still have a LONG way to go in the lingerie department….there is room for improvement. I designed a line of sensual, beautiful lingerie that addresses the various coverage issues for women like me. Unfortunately i had such a difficult time finding a manufacturer that I never had more than an initial prototype made. I agree we need to help women feel liek women again….without more surgery. I remain hopeful that someday a company will produce affordable, beautiful, soft, high quality lingerie for women like me who still feel just as sexy minus one boob! 🙂

  3. Janet Cockburn says:

    This is so true, women’s options have expanded over the years. They now have fabric breast forms which are lightweight and conform to their individual body, effectively making it a custom fit. They don’t have to have an “off the shelf” silicone form or pay thousands of dollars to get a custom made one.
    At janac we produce the Been-A-Boob breast prosthesis, which is also great in swimwear. So now as well as fabulous swimwear & lingerie there is also a fabulous breast form. We need to make a woman feel like a woman again without having to endure more surgery. Janet, (Founder & Designer, janac Mastectomy Wear)

  4. Patricia Brett says:

    Elisabeth,
    Thank you for understanding how important it is for women to have beautiful swimwear and lingerie options after surgery and for including Veronica Brett swimwear in your fabulous feature.
    Best,
    Patricia
    (Founder & Designer, Veronica Brett)

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