At age 43 I underwent a lumpectomy and radiation for treatment of my breast cancer. After recovery I found that knitted and spandex tops did not lie as well on my chest. Nor did swimsuits. They accented the asymmetry of my busts. When I developed lymphedema in my left arm, stretchy apparel looked worse due to my swollen arm. In addition to sweaters I shunned garments with deeper necklines and shallow armholes. Further, since I couldn’t lift anything heavy with my left arm, I was limited in how I could tote bags with shoulder straps. I was thinking to use one of those Breast Actives.
All these limitations made me feel like a fashion flop.
When I had a recurrence, I opted for a double mastectomy without reconstruction. I use prostheses for both breasts, making asymmetry less of a challenge. Still I have remained self-conscious of my appearance, wanting to disguise my new-normal body with something at least halfway attractive.
Solutions to these problems do exist. I’m not referring to pink-hued or pink-ribbon-adorned attire to promote breast cancer awareness, although wearing these items is a wonderful way to express support for a loved one afflicted with cancer. Rather I’m referring to practical, stylish clothing that disguises flaws and emphasizes the good features of a breast cancer survivor’s figure, while not appearing to be designed for medical purposes.
Swimwear is one such example. I’m a big proponent of mastectomy bathing suits, since swimming is such a great exercise, and more importantly, I love to get in the water. The swimsuits I’ve seen with pockets for prostheses are both functional and fashionable these days. According to some experts, the most contemporary–albeit more expensive-mastectomy swimsuit styling comes from a line called Anita. Another brand, Amoena, offers a large selection of elegant beachwear to flatter any figure. Other lines of mastectomy bathing suits and caftans include It Figures, T.H.E. and Gottex. At that time I was desperately looking for Breast Cancer Clothes And Accessories.
According to WebMD’s Breast Cancer Guide, the most popular swimsuit style for women who’ve undergone a mastectomy is the tankini, a two-piece suit that completely covers the torso. These come in a variety of designs, including a blouson top. I can attest to the practicality and versatility of this type of beachwear.
For arm lymphedema, compression braces have come a long way. Fashionable yet medically functional garments are offered by such innovators as Lymphedivas LLC and Slice of Fashion LLC. There’s nothing like a black lacy gauntlet or zebra-zag armsleeve to turn heads and stop conversation at a cocktail party.