Often Unaware: Lumpectomy & Breast Shapers
Three experts explain why many women choose lumpectomy breast forms.
Are balancing shapers and breast prostheses only for women who have had a mastectomy? No.
In fact, women who have had a lumpectomy, also known as breast-conserving surgery (BCS), are entitled to a partial prosthesis. The same sometimes applies to women who naturally have different size breasts and struggle with asymmetry.
Solutions for uneven breast after lumpectomy, radiation & reconstruction
Some women know to seek advice on this but do all women actually know that they are entitled to a breast balancing product? What particular challenges do they face?
We asked three experts from three different countries.
Expert 1: "The affected breast is often smaller"
| Angela von Bülow, 64,
Breast Care Team Leader and Lymph Specialist, Sanitätshaus Stolle in Hamburg, Germany
I used to work in anaesthesia as a nurse. About 20 years ago, I retrained to be a [breast] health professional and was very inspired by all of the helpful products — in the clinic I had only come into contact with things like prosthesis very rarely. At that time, mastectomy was absolutely the norm; breast-conserving operations were very rare.
Expert 2: "Many women find, after reconstruction, that their breasts are different sizes"
| Sherry Kendrick, 44,
certified mastectomy fitter for A Woman’s Place at Tallahassee Memorial Health Care Hospital in Florida
The majority of my clients who wear breast shapers to balance uneven breasts — that is, about 20% of my clients — have either had breast-conserving surgery or a mastectomy with subsequent breast reconstruction. Many of them find, after reconstruction, that their breasts are different sizes and that they need some help with the asymmetry. Breast implants also lack the curvature of a natural breast. Silicone implants are rather flat at the front and as a result, the breast often doesn’t sit correctly in the bra cup.
In addition, radiation treatment can lead to shrinkage of the breast tissue, creating the need for a partial prosthesis.
My experience in the last few years is that women know very little about breast shapers. Some of our BCS patients are advised by their doctors that they are entitled to these products — others find out by word of mouth from friends, family or women who are in a similar situation.
Expert 3: "In some cases, the size difference is only visible after a year or more"
| Ingrid Sandén, 58,
breast care nurse at Skåne Hospital in Malmö, Sweden