“It’s not just a bra. This is a way that you express yourself.”
After undergoing breast cancer surgery, it will take some time to adjust to your new normal. Your body may look different and you may feel different, but it’s important to remember that you’re beautiful and you’re still 100 percent you.
Many women struggle with body image issues after breast cancer and breast cancer surgery, but there are many ways to help you feel like yourself again. While feeling beautiful is state of mind, it doesn’t hurt to rock some comfortable, sexy underthings and wear clothes that make you feel good post-breast cancer surgery to give you an extra boost.
“You’re allowed to cherish your body as you did before you had breast cancer,” says Dana Donofree, breast cancer survivor and founder of AnaOno, which specializes in clothing for women with breast cancer. “Do what makes you feel good no matter what.”
Donofree, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27, began designing lingerie out of necessity when she realized there were no garments available at the the time that were both pretty and comfortable. Her company, AnaOno, continues this mission of providing garments for women who have had breast reconstruction, breast surgery, and mastectomy.
“Determining your breast surgery is a personal decision, and that personal decision is yours,” says Donofree. “Choosing your bra will depend on what surgery you had or your surgery outcome.”
Here are Donofree’s tips on finding the best bra to fit your needs based on your breast cancer surgery.
If you’ve decided not to undergo breast reconstruction surgery, try bralettes, which are soft, stretchy bras with no molds that provide a range of coverage.
These bralettes form right to your chest, and “you can cover any scarring that you may have undergone and still feel beautiful and sexy at the same time,” says Donofree.
If you have decided to have breast reconstruction surgery, you may find that with your new breast shape, traditional bras with molded cups don’t fit quite right. For example, “you might find some gaping because the molded cup may have an apex where there’s no longer a nipple,” says Donofree.
When looking for a bra post-breast reconstruction surgery, keep these tips in mind:
- Look for something that’s soft, but not necessarily structured, like a bralette. “Really look for bras that will mold to your body,” says Donofree.
- Go underwire-free. You want to make sure making there’s not anything that’s too tight around your breast fold, says Donofree.
- Try a bra with filler pockets. These are helpful if you’re looking to balance your shape or have more breast symmetry. “Some bras come with pockets and have modesty pads already included. You may be able to get a lightweight breast form in those,” says Donofree. “And some are actually made for mastectomy so you can put in a full-bodied, full-weighted breast form.”
Whatever bra you choose, remember this: “It’s not just a bra,” says Donofree. “This is a way that you express yourself—a way that you show yourself that you love your body.”
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Choosing your bra will depend on what
surgery you had or your surgery outcome.
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00:00:16,987 --> 00:00:20,599
Determining your breast surgery
is a personal decision, and
00:00:20,599 --> 00:00:22,618
that personal decision is yours.
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Have a conversation with your doctor, have
a conversation with other patients, and
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get many different perspectives.
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So that way you can feel proud and
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sure that the decision that you're making
is the best for you and your own care.
00:00:35,280 --> 00:00:39,380
If you've decided to not reconstruct,
that's absolutely fine.
00:00:39,380 --> 00:00:44,010
You can still find incredible bralettes
that form right to your chest.
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You can cover any scarring
that you may have undergone.
00:00:46,413 --> 00:00:49,189
You can still feel beautiful and
sexy at the same time.
00:00:49,189 --> 00:00:52,718
If you did choose to reconstruct,
one of the issues that you might find with
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a traditional bra that has a molded cup
is that now with your new breast shape,
00:00:56,359 --> 00:00:57,723
you might find some gaping.
00:00:57,723 --> 00:01:01,920
Because the molded cup may have an apex
where there's no longer a nipple.
00:01:01,920 --> 00:01:04,297
Really look for
bras that will mold to your body.
00:01:04,297 --> 00:01:08,820
Think about something that is soft but
isn't necessarily structured.
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Also, underwire free, making sure that
there's not gonna be an events going to be
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too tight around your breast fold.
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Now, your breast shape is maybe
the same that it was before surgery.
00:01:18,670 --> 00:01:22,670
You might be looking for a bra with
pockets to help balance your shape or
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fill out your shape, and that way you can
have some symmetry from side to side.
00:01:26,840 --> 00:01:30,702
Now some bras come with pockets and
have little modesty pads already included.
00:01:30,702 --> 00:01:33,219
You may be able to get
a lightweight breast form in those.
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And some are actually made for
pocketed mastectomy bras so
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you can put in a full bodied,
full weighted breast form.
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It is not just a bra.
00:01:41,890 --> 00:01:43,790
This is a way you express yourself.
00:01:43,790 --> 00:01:47,600
This is a way you show yourself
that you love your body.
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And that's okay,
you're allowed to cherish your body.
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Just as you did before
you had breast cancer.
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Do what makes you feel good no
matter what that decision is.
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Body Image and Sexuality After Breast Cancer. American Cancer Society. (Accessed on September 14, 2018 at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/living-as-a-breast-cancer-survivor/body-image-and-sexuality-after-breast-cancer.html)