Mastectomy lingerie is, admittedly, an area where I lack expertise. I have worked with women who have had reconstruction, but women needing to wear prostheses are often recommended to other retailers who offer superior advice and a better selection. As we continue to expand the shop and pursue new opportunities, mastectomy fittings and lingerie may be avenue where I explore additional training to better serve the needs of all of our customers. Nevertheless, I did have a chance to post a blog written by a Allison Goodlin which details some fantastic tips and tricks to feeling confident and coming to terms with body acceptance through lingerie after a mastectomy. Anyone who has other advice to add, please feel free to comment, and if any women have needed a mastectomy (single or double) and wish to write about your experience here, I would love to post it. Have a great day, everyone!
Your body is beautiful, and a mastectomy doesn’t change that. For many women that have undergone either a single or a double mastectomy, finding lingerie options that flatter their new look can be difficult. The scars that remain after breast cancer surgery are a constant reminder of their struggle, and many women fight daily to feel like themselves again. Finding the right lingerie can help you rebuild your confidence after mastectomy.
Although finding lingerie for your post- mastectomy body may be more difficult, it is possible. There are many gorgeous and flattering options for women after a mastectomy. Fighting breast cancer doesn’t mean you can’t love your body, even if it is different than the body you remember.
Analyze Your Concerns
Every mastectomy is different, and each woman will have different areas of concern they want to camouflage when choosing lingerie. Before you even start shopping carefully analyze your body, looking for areas that you want to cover and expose. Do you have a chemo port that needs coverage? Where are your scars located? Is complete coverage of your scars important to you? Have you undergone reconstruction? Are you using breast forms? When you know what you need out of your lingerie, finding it is a lot easier.
Before your mastectomy finding lingerie probably involved a trip to the mall. After breast removal surgery you may need to shop at more specialized retailers. Don’t buy the first piece you see; shop around until you find lingerie that you love. Don’t be afraid to try pieces on and return things that don’t work.
Different, but Always Beautiful
It isn’t just the breasts that make a woman’s body beautiful. While your breasts will look and feel different after breast cancer surgery, you still have many stunning features to accentuate. While you adjust to (and learn to love) your new breasts, focus on the other parts of your body that make you feel beautiful. If you’ve always loved your shoulders, show them off. If you’ve got a great bottom, flaunt it. By showcasing your favorite features you feel more confident every time you look in the mirror. You are more than your breasts; love all of you.
Some Options to Consider
Finding retailers that carry post-mastectomy shapewear, sleepwear, and lingerie can be difficult, but don’t get discouraged. There are options available, especially if you’re willing to use a little creativity.
- Choose a Pocketed Bra from a Traditional or Specialized Retailer– The easiest option for finding post-mastectomy everyday lingerie is to choose a specially designed bra from a manufacturer that offers pocketed bras. Anita makes some great ones you’ll want to check out. The special pockets sewn into these bras allow women to wear custom forms that mimic the shape and feel of the natural breast.
- Alter Traditional Lingerie– If you’re having trouble finding quality mastectomy bras and shapewear, you may be able to modify some conventional pieces to fit your needs. For this to work you’ll need a full coverage bra that fits properly (find a professional fitter if you need help with sizing) and stretch fabric (swimsuit fabric works well). This solution is ideal if you want to add a pocket into a conventional bra to accommodate a breast prosthesis.
- Reconstruction is an Option- Only 42% of women undergoing a mastectomy opt for breast reconstruction. While the choice whether to reconstruct or not is a highly individualized choice, it is important that women making it have the facts. Dr. Reza Momeni, FACS*, a renowned board certified, New Jersey plastic surgeon explains, “Some post-mastectomy patients have told me that they choose to skip breast reconstruction due to worries about the use of breast implants. While breast implants are an option, women should know that they aren’t the only reconstruction option available. If you’re interested in breast reconstruction, but have a few concerns, make sure you talk with a plastic surgeon before making your final decision. Women fighting cancer are strong and deserve to make an empowered, educated choice about their post-surgical look.” Some women find that reconstruction makes choosing post-mastectomy lingerie easier.
- For More Intimate Moments– Right after a mastectomy you might not be ready to shop for sexy lingerie. It can take time to adjust to your new body and look. Give yourself time to heal both physically and emotionally before you worry about shopping for more intimate pieces. When the time does come, be patient with yourself. You may find that mixing and matching is necessary. A conventional thong and garter set may be able to pair with a mastectomy bra for a flattering post-mastectomy bedroom look.
- Do What Makes You Comfortable– Not all women love their new look after cancer, but some women do choose to embrace it. Women who have undergone a single mastectomy and are comfortable with their new body might be comfortable wearing lingerie that shows the sexier side of a single mastectomy. While designers for the Monokini 2.0 project showcase swimwear possibilities for post-mastectomy patients, they boldly show that women with one breast don’t have to cover everything up if they’re comfortable showing off their new bodies. Be bold, be conservative, be whatever you like. The most important thing is that you learn to love yourself once again.
While a mastectomy does change the way your body looks, it doesn’t have to change how you feel about yourself.
Allison Goodlin is a professional writer, who enjoys writing about health, beauty tips, and skin care. She has written for several beauty blogs and fashion publications, but has recently found an interest in the plastic surgery industry. After watching her aunt overcome breast cancer, Allison has focused her research on breast surgeries, with emphasis on patient lifestyle after breast augmentation, breast lifts and especially breast reconstruction for cancer patients. She is dedicated to informing seasoned and future patients on the how-to’s after breast surgery. She truly feels that each patient should experience the excitement of purchasing lingerie once your new look has finally healed and with the experienced surgical advice, patients will be equipped with the information to enjoy their buying experience.
* Feel free to contact Dr. Reza Momeni, FACS, a board certified plastic surgeon in New Jersey that has extensive experience with cancer reconstruction with any questions you may have.