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Breast Forms (Prostheses)

Miscellaneous Tips

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Following are some tips from the American Cancer Society's A Breast Cancer JourneyYour Personal Guidebook From The Experts At The American Cancer Society, Atlanta, American Cancer Society, 2001.
  • Check with your insurance company to determine your coverage for a prosthesis and bra. Find out if your policy restricts you to a certain shop or manufacturer. 
  • Ask your doctor to write a prescription for your prosthesis and for any special bras for insurance reimbursement.
  • Consider taking someone with you who will be completely honest with you about how different prostheses look.
  • The most expensive breast form is not necessarily the best for you. The form should not only look good, but should feel comfortable.
  • Because of different types of incisions, the prosthesis that feels good to a relative or a friend may not fit you.
  • Comparison shop to get a good idea of the different prostheses available. Not all shops carry all brands or types. Don't buy the first one you see just to get it over with.
  • When you shop for a prosthesis, wear something form-fitting that will drape nicely, like a silk shirt or a fitted sweater, so you can get a clean look at the shape and contour of your breast. Wear something you enjoyed putting on before your surgery. Try on the prosthesis in a comfortable, supporting bra.
  • Be sure the prosthesis matches your remaining breast as closely as possible from the top, bottom, and front.
  • Not every woman needs a special mastectomy bra with a pocket to hold a prosthesis in place. Ask your trained fitter which type of bra is best for you. Also remember that sometimes pockets can be added to existing bras. Many postmastectomy retailers offer pocket materials or pre-cut pockets for this purpose. Many will sew the pockets into your bras for you.
  • A temporary breast form may be hand-washed, then placed inside the foot of an old stocking and placed in the dryer. You may need to reshape it to regain the contour you want.
  • If you have a lumpectomy or are small-breasted, you can put a breast enhancer in your bra to make the breast match the size of your other breast. As an alternative, you can put a shoulder pad in your bra. Try sewing the pad into your bra.
  • You can obtain prostheses and other products for women with cancer through the American Cancer Society's "tlc" catalog (800-ACS-2345).

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