Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) and on average, 72 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day. Following treatment, acquiring a breast prosthesis that is right for each individual is vital. This is where a qualified fitter comes in.
In the 3rd article in our “First Fitting” series, we spoke to Sue Teschke, owner and certified fitter at Mastectomy Lingerie & More who detailed what is involved during the process of fitting for a breast prosthesis.
What should I look for when selecting a Breastcare boutique?
Our customers can expect a comfortable atmosphere, knowledgeable staff and selection of products.
From my own experience after my surgery 10 years ago, I had no idea what mastectomy bras or breast prostheses looked like. I was looking for information and to see what my different options were.
Having a place where you see a selection of products (and note that mastectomy bras and prosthesis are not ‘medical looking devices’!) and feel comfortable to ask questions and discuss the products with knowledgeable staff can help ease any anxiety you may be having.
In our store, we showcase a variety of styles of mastectomy products, including bras, breast prosthesis, clothing and swimwear. Customers are welcome to browse and touch and feel the products to help them see what their options are.
Why should I go to a professional fitter?
A professional fitter has the knowledge of products and experience in bra and prosthesis fittings so they can help you find products that will be a good fit for you.
I have recently learned I require breast surgery, how can a fitter help me?
If you can speak with a fitter before your surgery, they can provide you with information on products and give you guidance on your next steps for mastectomy bras and prosthesis.
A helpful product that is meant for use right after your surgery is a post-surgery camisole.
The camisole is designed to hold removable drain bulb pouches that will help you manage the drains that will be in place after surgery.
Trulife offers the Jennifer post-surgery camisole that is not only comfortable, it’s also easy to put on because it’s a step-in design, and it’s very pretty with a little lace accent at the front.
This camisole also includes 2 soft puffs that have a soft cotton cover and are filled with adjustable material, and you can wear the puffs to give you a little ‘something’ while your surgery site heals and before you are ready for a more fitted prosthesis.
How soon after my surgery can I be fitted for a prosthesis?
For a silicone prosthesis, it is recommended to wait about 6 – 8 weeks after surgery.
You want to make sure your surgery site is healed and swelling has minimized. And you want to make sure you are comfortable wearing a fitted bra around your ribcage.
There are also some non-silicone options, such as the Active Flow that may be comfortable for you before that time that offer a little more shape and can be worn in leisure bras which offers a lighter support until you are ready for a fitted bra.
Do I need to book an appointment?
At Mastectomy Lingerie & More appointments are not necessary so you are welcome to drop in during our store business hours when it is convenient for you.
We do offer some appointment times during the week if the customer prefers. They can contact us for availability and to schedule a time.
You can also visit our website to view products available in our store. We also offer online shopping and if you are not sure about size you can contact us with your questions.
I am still body conscious following my surgery, is the fitting facility discreet?
We have individual change rooms where you will try on the products in privacy and discuss with the fitter.
Is it ok for me to bring a friend/sister/daughter along with me?
Yes! At our store, you are welcome to bring along spouses, family or friends for support and to help you decide what looks good on you.
How long does a fitting normally take?
For the first fitting after surgery, it could take about 1 hour as we try different styles of bras and prosthesis to see what is a good fit for you in sizing and style.
We understand that this is a new experience for you so we don’t want to rush as we want you to be happy with your new purchase(s)!
Do I need to wear a special bra with my prosthesis?
While you can just set a prosthesis in a bra cup, mastectomy bras are designed to offer support and hold the prosthesis in a pocket to keep it securely in place.
How do I look after my prosthesis?
With the silicone prosthesis, you want to give them a wipe off with a mild soap on a regular basis (just like a body part!).
When not wearing the prosthesis, you should store it in its ‘cradle’ in the box it came in. That will help to keep its shape and will protect it from pets or young children who may think it is a new toy!
The silicone prosthesis is designed to be worn every day and when properly taken care, could last for a few years. They will start to lose their shape over time and you could start to see air bubbles in the silicone as they break down with regular wear.
The silicone prostheses do have a warranty of 2 years from date of purchase against manufacturer’s defects (i.e. if the air bubbles appear before the 2 years).
You may want to be re-fitted after this time to ensure the size and style is still a good ‘match’ for you. Also, there may be a new style available that you like better!
Prostheses of any kind should never be put in the washer or dryer. If you have a non-silicone prosthesis you will want to confirm what the care procedures are with the fitter.
The Active Flow is a non-silicone prosthesis which can be used for swimming and other ‘active’ activities and it is easy to clean by giving a rinse out in a small basin with mild soap (especially after swimming). Then just a gentle squeeze and pat in a towel. With its quick-drying outer fabric, it will be ready to wear almost immediately!