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The ultimate guide to bras for every stage of breast cancer

Going through breast cancer comes with countless changes, both emotionally and physically. Throughout each stage of breast cancer, needs and wants will likely change so we hope these tips and suggestions will help shed some light on what features to look for in bras! At the same time, it’s important to recognize that each breast cancer journey is different so choosing what works for your body is always the way to go. Amie Heenan from Melmira Boutique walked us through the importance of finding the right bra during and after breast cancer treatment.  

POST-OP BRAS

A post-op undergarment is what you’ll wear home from the hospital and for 4-6 weeks after. Every woman’s situation is unique, so it’s hard to predict what exactly you’ll need. However, either a compression bra or a lightweight comfortable bra will do the job. You can talk to your surgeon about any specific needs you have before you go in for a fitting and that will help you customize your garments. Front closure is very important initially due to restricted mobility and pockets to hold breast forms while also accomodating drain pouches. Not only will this help minimize bruising and pain, but it can also increase the speed of recovery. The Leisure Form Bra is ideal as it provides a nice shape during the healing process, however, it's not a long term solution. 

Featured: 110 Leisure Bra; American Breast Care, $54 | Signature Lace Boyshorts; Melmira, $45 | Seamless Cup Recovery Bra; Marena, $105 | Seamless Full Panty; Melmira, $25 | Hannah Breast Surgery Recovery Camisole; Amoena, $82 | Full Panty; Melmira, $30 | Leisure Breast Form; Amoena, $52

4-6 WEEKS POST-SURGERY

Once physical healing begins, reconnecting with your body after surgery is important. Whether you’ve decided to work with breast forms or pursue reconstruction, finding the right fit is an important part of post-surgical bra shopping. Sometimes a surgical bra isn't the best option during the recovery process. If the bra fits properly, a pocket isn't always necessary and it can be nicer for the breast form to sit against the body. If you're fuller busted but prefer non-padded bras, nipple covers are a great solution to get the best of both worlds! You won't have to worry about having them show and still feel comfortable in your chosen bra. 

When it comes to reconstruction, a bra fitting can really help normalize all the challenges one faces during their breast cancer journey by making helpful accomodations.

Featured: Lara Satin Padded Wired Bra; Amoena, $66 | Mini Perfect-Day Cotton; Janira, $45 | Ancona Post Mastectomy Bra; Anita, $105 | Cosabella Never Say Never Hotpants; Melmira, $39 | Purfit Adjustable Breast Enhancer; Amoena, $120 | Breast Form; American Breast Care, $424 | Balance Natura Medium Delta Breast Form; Amoena, $226 | Nippies Skin Nipple Covers; Melmira, $34

ANNUAL FITTINGS

Breast cancer can definitely make an impact on your finances, so we encourage you to be aware and educated on government funding, tax benefits and insurance. After breast cancer, bras are considered surgical garments and are non-taxable! Most insurance plans will usually cover a certain number of bras per year. Feeling beautiful and feminine might be an obstacle post-surgery, but allow your body and mind time to heal. Once you’re ready, explore options that work for you. Going through breast cancer does not mean that you can’t feel your best again! As a survivor, healing should make you feel powerful and strong.

Building a relationship with a fitter allows you to start exploring your options and can even be a transformative experience. Whether you opt for a new neckline that you thought you’d never try or a fun pattern that you love, let yourself enjoy the journey of finding out what flatters you.

Featured: Full Cup Wire Baboushka Bra; PrimaDonna, $215 | Baboushka Full Briefs; PrimaDonna, $109 | Bluebella Body Suit; Melmira, $86 | Strapless Bra; Melmira, $170