Bras And Inserts Following A Lumpectomy – What You Should Know
You’ve probably seen them in the lingerie sections of department stores, on a display of accessories. Sometimes they’re called bra inserts, push-ups, gel pads, breast enhancers, shapers or partials. But what are they for, exactly?
While anyone can use them inside a bra for cleavage-boosting purposes, these breast accessories are truly necessary—and in some cases, available free of charge on the NHS — after breast cancer.
Lumpectomy still accounts for more than half of all the breast cancer surgeries performed each year, although the number of women who choose mastectomy is on the rise. If you’ve had breast cancer and it was detected early, chances are you had, or will have, breast-conserving surgery – also known as a lumpectomy. This procedure removes the cancerous lump along with a margin of normal breast tissue. It is usually paired with radiotherapy, and its intent is to save as much of the breast tissue as possible.
Not every woman diagnosed with breast cancer qualifies for lumpectomy. Your doctor will consider these and other factors:
- Do you have more than one primary tumor?
- How large is the tumor in relation to the breast?
- Where is the tumor located? (Some locations will produce better cosmetic outcomes than others.)
- Are you pregnant? (If so, you can’t have radiation therapy.)
- Have you had prior radiation therapy to the breast or chest area?
A lumpectomy is something you want to may consider for the following reasons:
- Lumpectomy is typically a shorter procedure with a shorter recovery time.
- Recurrence rate may be reduced in some cases.
- For some women, having a lumpectomy can result in minimal loss of sensation to the breast
- A lumpectomy allows you to maintain the majority of your natural breast.
How to fix breast asymmetry, or ‘uneven breasts’ after lumpectomy?
It is possible to experience asymmetry – or uneven breasts – after a lumpectomy, which may only become apparent once the swelling of surgery has subsided. This might be due to the amount of tissue that had to be removed or simply the subsequent effect of radiotherapy on the skin or surrounding breast tissue.
If it’s bothersome enough that your clothes fit uncomfortably, or you’re not confident that your outline looks natural, a partial breast form might be just what you need. Balance to the rescue!
Partial breast forms – sometimes referred to as lumpectomy breast forms – from the Amoena Balance range are designed specifically to fill, cover and conceal almost any breast asymmetry created by surgery or radiotherapy. They can also balance naturally uneven breasts.
Our bra inserts come in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses, to fit you personally and accommodate your unique needs. They can be attached to the skin with adhesive, like our Balance Contact breast shapers, or worn in the cup of your bra.
Are breast shapers available free if I’ve had a lumpectomy?
If you had your surgery on the NHS you should be entitled to a free breast shaper, which will usually be replaced every 2-3 years. This can differ between hospitals or NHS trusts, so be sure to check with your breast care nurse.
A breast shaper can give you the smooth silhouette you want to see in the mirror, and body confidence every day. If you would like more information about the full range of breast shapers, please contact your breast care nurse.
American Cancer Society “Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015-2016”, Atlanta: American Cancer Society, Inc. 2015. Jan. 23, 2017.