A diagnosis of breast cancer is often met with bewilderment, shock, disbelief then comes a wave of information which for most can be very overwhelming.
At Colleen's we take the time with women and members of their family explaining the practicalities of having a lumpectomy, mastectomy or reconstruction before any treatment commences.
We start by showing you a post surgery bra a soft comfortable bra, with front fastening for ease of use with sewn cotton pockets, which is recommended for mastectomy and partial removal of the breast surgeries.
For reconstruction, there is a compression bra to ensure firmness to hold the breast implants in place. It is recommended that a post surgical bra is worn 24/7 for about 6 weeks.
For those undergoing a mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy, a Fluffy Duck, a soft insert with padding which can be altered to the right size, fits into the pocket of the surgery bra and can be worn immediately after surgery. The Fluffy Duck is usually given out by the breast care nurses and in the ACT these are lovingly made by women from Bosom Buddies breast cancer support group. We also keep a stock of Fluffy Ducks for women who need another one or who may not receive any whilst in hospital.
The Fluffy Duck has no weight in it and so expect some "bra creep". If "bra creep" becomes uncomfortable or annoying there is a light weight leisure form which can be worn, depending on the healing process, a few weeks after surgery.
After 6 weeks if there is no swelling or fluid around the scar area you can be professionally fitted for a breast prosthesis.
These come in different shapes, are made from medical grade silicon and Medicare will reimburse you up to $400 for each prosthesis. There is a wide range of pocketed bras to choose from ranging from soft, padded and under wire bras. These bras are specially designed for a breast prosthesis and hold it securely in place.
For those who have had a lump removed, or those with uneven breasts after surgery, there may be a need for a partial prosthesis, or balance shaper, depending on how much and where the breast tissue was removed from. The partial prosthesis, which is claimable from Medicare, if worn due to a breast cancer diagnosis, provides symmetry on both sides and can be worn in a pocketed or non-pocketed bra.
We are asked all sorts of questions in the shop and on the phone and we are only too happy to spend time explaining the practicalities and ways in which we can support you.
Our brands ABC, Amoena, Anita, Classique, Lipoelastic and Megami are designed for post surgery wear. These may be claimable from Private Health Funds for all types of breast surgery. Check your entitlement with your health fund and request a receipt, either printed or emailed to you when you purchase your bras.
There are many breast cancer organisations who can support you in many different ways. Check with your breast care nurse for local support groups.