A mastectomy comes with a few challenges in clothing choices. Creating the look of ‘normal’ is often hard to achieve. Wearing a mastectomy bra with a prosthesis is a start. Finding one with a good fit and comfortable around the surgery site and under the arm is imperative. Usually you can find a bra that works for you.
However, what often happens is for those women who like to wear V-neck styles or low necklines, the lack of cleavage is evident. The bras aren’t the solution.
The other issue is scarring on the upper chest from radiation treatment that women want to cover up.
I’ve been asked many times if there was a garment that would add this level of coverage but still be chic, stylish and wearable. Well, I’ve found one. These camisoles worn over a mastectomy bra are lovely and absolutely smashing. The designer obviously knew the issues and came up with something unique and quite frankly are a great wardrobe addition regardless of whether you have had a mastectomy or not.
Finding great options for both casual and dressy occasions without added layers can be a challenge, especially when you’ve had a mastectomy.
Camisoles, in general, are great wardrobe staples because they can be worn under a garment such as a sweater, blouse, etc. for warmth, protection, and comfort. A well designed mastectomy camisole with lace trim and some spandex is wonderful to wear under a jacket for day or evening wear. Lots of women wear them on their own with jeans together with a casual sweater for evening when the weather chills off.
A mastectomy camisole provides fashion as well as great coverup with different necklines to choose from, built in bras to hold a prosethesis, and similar support as a bra. Some also serve as compression camisoles for those who develop torso lymphedema and require graduated compression rather than simply comfort spandex.
After a mastectomy, choices for undergarments take a new turn. Some women have opted for breast reconstruction to eliminate this issue. However, there are many women who choose not to go that route and therefore look for functional but attractive mastectomy camisoles and bras .
One mastectomy camisole that is very useful and a welcome addition to any wardrobe is a black shaper camisole. This camisole is not only designed to accommodate a prosthesis, it also has compression for those who develop torso lymphedema. Do not confuse this garment with SpanX which has compression, but not the graduated compression required for torso lymphedema.
A bonus is the trimming effect on the midriff. Often when undergoing treatment, women gain weight, especially around the middle, so something that will make us look and feel trim for special occasions boosts self esteem.
Under normal circumstances, sex can be a difficult subject to broach. After a mastectomy, the thought of resuming sexual activity can make some patients feel emotionally uncomfortable. Some women have reported feeling less desirable without their breasts intact. Fortunately, there is good news when it comes to getting your groove back.
According to an American Cancer Society study, there is no physical reason breast surgery or radiation to the breasts should decrease sexual desire. Another fear, that men won’t find a woman who has had a mastectomy attractive, is unfounded. Men have reported having little difficulty adjusting to their mate’s new form; they’re only wary of initiating sex because they don’t know how far their partner wants to be pushed and may not know how to communicate about the issue. Still, just because a study essentially says “it’s all in your head” doesn’t mean a woman will feel comfortable baring her body. Wearing a mastectomy camisole during intimate moments can help. Nowadays mastectomy camisoles are not only functional, they are highly attractive; some even have lace details and sexy, plunging necklines.
When diagnosed with breast cancer, a woman often faces a mastectomy. This surgery requires some adjustments to daily living in terms of what garments to wear.
Many women consider breast replacement surgery to get back their ‘normal’ look and ease of wearing clothes. However, for some women, this is not an option they want to entertain, so wearing mastectomy bras is necessary. Some women have found terrific T-shirts that have a built-in bra with a pocket for the prosthesis. The one pictured on the right is also reversible so you have a varied neckline – a stylish basic to add to your new wardrobe.
I know that some small busted women opt for a no-bra look, except for special occasions. However, if you are larger-breasted, this is not a viable solution. Not wearing a prosthesis can cause back problems due to the imbalance of weight in the front. Therefore, finding a mastectomy garment that gives secure comfort (i.e. bra stays in place and doesn’t chafe sensitive skin) is the best choice.
After a mastectomy, finding a comfortable bra to wear seems to be a big issue.
- Often there are tissue folds or scars on the side where a bra seam normally goes. Having a bra with no side seam is a big deal in this case.
- Also of note is the type of fabric. It needs to be soft, as in a soft cotton, to be gentle on sensitive skin.
- Having pockets to hold a prosthesis is obviously a requirement.
- A mastectomy bra with a no latex band under the breast to hold the bras position is helpful for those with latex allergies.
- Some come with front velcro closure for ease of getting in and out when mobility is an issue which is the case after surgery. Some women get frozen shoulder for which a front closure bra would be an added benefit.
There are many options on the market for mastectomy bras. Whatever your choice, there are many styles to choose from. Have a look around and find what works for you.
Following surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy), it’s important to take proper precautions to reduce the amount of discomfort and swelling that may follow post surgery. Purchasing a new bra is high on the list of steps to reduce the risk of swelling and increase your overall comfort. Depending on your surgery, your doctor may recommend that you wear a compression bra.
A compression bra has a padded front zipper closure for ease of getting on and off when you arm is sore, adjustable hook-and-eye shoulder straps to ensure a proper fit and a latex-free fabric that pulls moisture away from the body and dissipates heat buildup. The bra also has a soft compression band that encircles the torso gently, has attachments to easily manage the draining tubes, and delivers comfort for the surrounding skin and muscle tissue. Patients who are susceptible to lymphedema are often told to wear a compression bra.
To determine what bra size you are you’ll want to measure your chest directly under your breasts and around your back, thus determining band size. To determine cup size you’ll want to measure the fullest part of the larger breast from the midpoint of your chest, over the larger breast, and to the center of your back. Multiply the number by two. Then check the manufacturers sizing charts for your correct size.
Not all patients are aware that after a lumpectomy or mastectomy, drains are inserted and stay with you for a few days. Nowadays, you are also sent home from the hospital with them still intact. They are cumbersome, don’t fit under clothes and the bags are left hanging leaving you with the issue of how to manage them.
Women who have gone before you have used their experience to design a practical and fashionable mastectomy camisole to address this issue. There are several styles available from which to choose.
Thoughts to keep in mind are:
- Do you want adjustable straps? Some come with and some don’t.
- How soft is the fabric and does it stretch? Your surgery site will be sensitive as it heals and you will want a fabric that is cosy and non-abrasive.
- How long is the camisole? Some women like them quite long and others shorter.
- How adaptable are they after the drains are removed? Can you use this camisole afterwards in place of a bra? It takes a while for the surgery site to heal and before you will feel comfortable putting on a bra. Also, if you are having radiation, a soft camisole will be the better option as skin becomes sensitive and sometimes has radiation burn. You won’t want to be putting anything tight around your breast.
The above are functional issues. We also want to look attractive to keep our self-esteem high and appear as normal as possible given the circumstances. Well designed and fashionable camisoles fill that void and help make the transition easier after your mastectomy or lumpectomy.
Not every breast cancer survivor opts to have reconstructive surgery. Those unwilling to face further invasive surgery can still achieve the look of full breasts with mastectomy bras. Mastectomy bras give the illusion of a full breast by utilizing prostheses. The bras will either have built-in prostheses or pockets to place your own prostheses.
As is the case with regular bras, mastectomy bras come in many colors and are suited for different occasions. There are basic everyday mastectomy bras, active/athletic bras, comfort bras, and even specialty bras. Specialty bras may include bras with front closures, t-backs, ¾ lengths, and bras that utilize conforming gel. For those who are sensitive to underwire bras, mastectomy bras also come in the more comfortable soft-cup.
Having a mastectomy due to breast cancer requires a new way of dressing, especially if you have not opted for reconstructive surgery. Nowadays, there are many stylish options. Not only are they practical, having pockets for your prosthesis, but they are also attractive. A mastectomy camisole can stand in for a bra, so you only have one garment to wear.
For those elegant occasions, a mastectomy camisole in a stretchy fabric with lace trim – and in black – can take you from the office to an evening out. Hot flashes often accompany a mastectomy, so something that is comfortably cool, fashionable, and eliminates another layer of clothing, is a bonus.
Some of the mastectomy camisoles are also compression garments, offering not only a slimming silhouette but also provide the necessary compression to facilitate lymph flow for those who have torso lymphedema.