For many women, a mastectomy remains the best chance at living their best life cancer-free. It doesn’t make the experience any less harrowing. Breast cancers tend to be especially aggressive and leave their mark not just physically but emotionally as well. Many women struggle to reclaim their identity and self-esteem along with their health.
Here’s why mastectomy bras are so important
Recovery post-op is a long, hard road. A mastectomy is an invasive procedure and nerve damage can be extensive. Skin changes resulting from radiotherapy can also take several months to heal. The average woman will take up to a year or more for her body to feel “normal” again.
During this time, support for healing tissue is an absolute must. Until recently, women have had little choice but to make do with conventional undergarments and make their own alterations to be able to accommodate a new shape or a prosthesis.
Fortunately, more manufacturers are acknowledging the need for a more specialist approach that not only accommodates the physical requirements but also the fact that many women just want their sexy back and don’t want to be limited to dowdy styles that allow for little freedom of expression.
Enter Anita’s range of mastectomy bras – in a variety of looks. Plus, they keep the prostheses in place so you feel more confident about movement. “When selecting a post-mastectomy bra, it’s important that the item isn’t only attractive and comfortable but also well fitted and designed with recovery in mind. Anita offers cleverly designed pockets that discreetly accommodate a breast form,” says Stephen van Niekerk, distributor of the Anita Care in South Africa.
The bras cost about R1 100 to R1 500, and are claimable from most medical aids. They can be purchased at orthotists countrywide offering breast prosthesis fitment.
Choosing a bra post op
- No underwires. They can irritate sensitive areas. Most surgeons suggest alternative support in the form of soft fabrics and seams, with deep side wings under the arms and no stiffeners. This avoids rubbing or chafing on any scar tissue.
- Reducing the risk of Lymphedema with wide, easy to adjust straps. For added comfort and help the bra stay in place look for bra-strap cushions.
- Planning on wearing a breast prosthesis? Look for good separation between the cups, with a deeper centre that sits flush against the breastbone. This keeps the breast form more secure and more discreet when bending forward. Multi-sectioned or pre-formed cups generally provide a more defined and fuller shape.
- Look for microfibre fabrics which are hypoallergenic and antibacterial offering the moisture management to keep the affected areas clean and dry to promote healing.