Feel comfortable and confident - choosing a bra after breast cancer surgery
A month ago
Picking a bra that makes you feel comfortable and confident can be a vital part of your post-surgery journey. Whichever surgery type you’ve had, whether you wear breast prostheses or have had reconstruction, you might find that you need to explore a few different options before finding the right bra for you. Some people find it helpful to go to a professional bra fitter that is trained in mastectomy and lumpectomy and with the right guidance from your healthcare team you can figure out which options are right for you. This is only a short guide and does not constitute medical advice, please try to refer to your healthcare team for further guidance. Your healthcare team will speak to you about your options after surgery and will help you to decide which type of post-operation recovery is best for you.
Prosthesis – artificial breasts that can be worn inside your bra in place of the removed breast tissue. To begin with you will be given soft foam prostheses as your skin heals and then later offered silicon prostheses.
Breast reconstruction – you may also be offered to have breast reconstruction surgery which can either involve reconstruction using your own tissue or reconstruction using prostheses. Talking with your healthcare team will help you to decide which route you would like to take.
There are three factors you will need to keep in mind when picking out a bra:
Movement – dealing with post-surgery stiffness
Moving around after surgery can be difficult and you will feel a little rigid for the first few weeks especially around your chest and arms, so choosing a bra that is soft and stretchy will allow you to move more comfortably while you are still sore.
Opting for a front fastening bra will help to minimise quick movements which could result in uncomfortable skin pulling. This type of bra will allow you to guide your bra cups around your chest and reduce the likelihood of accidently stretching your skin.
If you have had breast reconstructive surgery, you will want to avoid wearing bras with underwire for a few months as your body adjusts to the change – speak to your healthcare team about what options will be best for you immediately after surgery.
Comfort – feel at ease in your bra
When it comes to picking a cup size, you will want to ensure that if you are wearing prostheses, the cups should encompass the entire breast or prostheses, to comfortably hold them in place. Most post-surgery bras will have inbuilt pockets for you to rest your prosthesis.
Choosing bras which are made from softer materials such as cotton can help to prevent skin irritations and discomfort during hot weather. We recommend using Defiant Beauty Smooth Skin Oil or Defiant Beauty Smooth Skin Balm to soothe any surgery scars as you heal.
Protection – look for a bra that embraces your body
To protect the skin around your breasts, it is a good idea to pick a bra which provides a good range of coverage around the top and side areas of your breasts in particular. By covering the entire breast area, you can protect surgery incisions while you heal and prevent any accidental tears or tugging. As your surgery wounds begin to heal you might want to switch back to your normal bras but if you are still sore and sensitive it’s better to stick to softer bra’s. If you’re wearing breast prostheses, you will want to keep an eye on how well the bra holds your prostheses, as you want them to remain secure throughout the day. Bras should feel invisible, light, and secure, so if you’re noticing any irritability or movement from your bra, speak to your healthcare team or go to a professional bra fitter to find a bra that suits your needs.
Hopefully, this has given you some ideas to think about when finding a bra that suits your body’s needs and allows you to feel comfortable and protected. Remember that the first place to start is with your personal healthcare team, who will be able to give you personalised guidance and advice.
Click here to read more about Bras and Breast Prostheses