As a woman who has seen relatives suffer from breast cancer and watched them go through their cancer journey, I understand how daunting the experience can be. In my family it has been an equal split between those that have successfully defeated their cancer or unfortunately succumbed to it. One thing that stood out to me was the evident change in their relationship with lingerie.
Lingerie is something solely marketed towards a predominantly female market, with the idea of feeling feminine, sensual, and confident. Yet, during the journey of breast cancer, many women feel a loss of their femininity, especially after a mastectomy. The loss of a breast for a woman can have a huge impact on their mental health, as it is not only a part of their body that they grieve over, but it is a body part that is socially linked to femininity.
My relatives often felt lost when buying lingerie after surgery and felt that they were a forgotten market. That the loss of their breasts meant that they could no longer be sexy or feminine. To them it was as if that element of their being left their body with their breast. While there are many different bras out there that are post-mastectomy, many of which offer full coverage, the post-mastectomy bras often don’t offer the same level of style, sex appeal, or lace detailing as the average bra offers.
An alternative is having a prosthesis to insert into your bras so that you can still wear the same bras that you did before surgery. This means that as long as you left a bra that you love and enjoy wearing, a prosthesis can enable you to wear it without anyone knowing you have lost a breast. In the UK, you can ask for a referral to the NHS prosthesis fitting service and get a permanent prosthesis, like these:
Other women prefer to not have any prosthesis or a specially adapted bra and live perfectly happy lives after their cancer journey. There are bras that are adapted to have different sized cups. As well as many women choose to then wear bralettes as they enjoy wearing lingerie but no longer have the need for underwear or supportive designs. One charity that helps support women who have had a single or double mastectomy is https://www.flatfriends.org.uk/
Help us raise money for breast cancer by donating your old bras. For more details, please go here: https://www.theluxenude.com/pages/bra-recycling
If you believe you have signs of breast cancer, contact your local doctor immediately and be seen by a medical professional.