Breast Cancer and Your Bra

By Linda the Bra Lady on October 17th, 2011

In this internet age, there is a lot of information out there. But, it’s hard to keep the latest studies and information straight. When it comes to your bras, I’ve got you covered! More than 20 years ago, I had a true ah-ha moment when the American Cancer Society invited me to a class on bra and prosthesis fitting. I realized that not only were my friend and I in the wrong size bra, but that almost every woman was wearing the wrong size bra! It was then that I started focusing on fitting women for their undergarments, and not just selling pretty lingerie. And while my expertise and range of sizes has grown and grown, I have never forgotten where it all began. And since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought I would debunk some myths and answer some of your most pressing questions regarding your body, your bra, and breast cancer.

Do Underwire bras cause breast cancer? In one word: NO! This is one myth that I have been trying to debunk for years, now. Unfortunately, an unreliable study spread a rumor about underwires causing cancer, and the myth has stuck around. According to an article in the NY Times, “There is no scientifically credible evidence of this…and the proposed mechanism — that bras prevent elimination of toxins by blocking lymph flow — is not in line with scientific concepts of how breast cancer develops.” I do believe, however, that stuffing your breasts into a bra that doesn’t fit, or letting them slip and slide all over the place in a dead bra, isn’t so great for your breast tissue. So cancer prevention aside, keep your breasts happy and wear the right size!

Where can I get information on breast cancer prevention? With all of the information floating around out there, I would stick to trusted sources like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and other online sites from trusted hospitals like Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Medical, and the NYU Medical Center. You can trust centers like these to provide a lot of prevention, treatment, and care information. Also, ask your doctor for great insights into preventing breast cancer!

Are all mastectomy bras matronly and boring? No way! I carry some gorgeous options! Have you seen some of the styles from the Anita Care line? They are very attractive! There’s no reason to sacrifice style after your surgery. Additionally, if you decide to opt for reconstruction, you have even more options. And, as always, the most important part about your bra- mastectomy or not- is wearing the right size. 

What are my options directly after surgery? Your doctor should recommend what type of bra to wear immediately post-surgery. One commonly prescribed bra is a Surgical Compression bra. This type of bra is designed to apply even pressure on the breasts to promote the healing process. This type of bra may be prescribed to you if are susceptible to lymphoedema. If you do not need a medical-grade compression bra, your doctor may recommend wearing a soft-cup bra, such as a low or medium-impact sports bra. A front closure bra may be easier to put on and off than a bra with a traditional back hook and clasp.

How can I measure myself for a mastectomy/lumpectomy bra and prosthesis? I’ve offered post surgery and mastectomy bras, and prostheses and inserts in my online store for quite some time. Now, my Murray Hill store is stocked full of these products in all sizes and styles! If you’re able to come in for a personal fitting, I always suggest it. If you can’t, here are directions for finding your bra size when one breast is larger than the other, or you’ve had one breast removed all together. This process is easier if you have a friend help ensure that the measuring tape is straight and taut.  Remember: You should always size your bra to the larger breast.

1) Measure your chest directly under your breasts, making a straight line across your back. The measuring tape should be tight, but not cutting into you. This is your Band Size Measurement.
2) Measure the larger of your breasts. To do this, start with the tape measure on your chest wall between the breasts. Go over the fullest part of your breast and halfway around your back, stopping at the spine.
3) Multiply this measurement by two. This is your Cup Size Measurement.
4) Enter these measurements in our Bra Calculator Tool to see your bra size. You can email these measurements to one of my Bra Divas and they can suggest both a bra and prosthesis size, just for you! Please note that bra sizing is not a perfect science, so it may take a little trial and error to find the perfect size.

Find more mastectomy and lumpectomy bra and prosthesis information on my website. And, don’t forget to attend my first ever Care for the Cause Event on Thursday October 27th from 1-9pm! Bring your friends, get a fitting, win prizes, and support a great cause.

Happy BCA Month!