October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and with 1 in 8 women being diagnosed with breast cancer, we are doing our bit to raise awareness and share information for those women who need a helping hand. According to Breast Cancer now.org 'Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the UK', however, more than 1 in 4 breast cancer cases are preventable - this relies on us women to check and catch the signs early.
It's very easy to forget about your breasts when you have a busy work schedule and other things to worry about...but they are an important part of your body and we, at Knicker Locker, believe it's essential to make sure your breasts are comfortable and supported everyday, as well as checking them on a regular basis. It sounds like a lot of work...but really it's not!
There are many breast awareness groups and charities out there that promote and educate people on the importance of knowing your breasts and the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
Here are some listed below:
There are many benefits of contacting local groups or charities including:
- To help provide individual coping skills and adjustments.
- To provide a resource for advice and further information.
- It can help improve your quality of life.
- Gives you the ability to speak honestly.
- Reduces isolation.
- Can provide fellowship and friendships.
Checking your breasts
We always recommend checking your breasts at least once a month for any unusual changes in colour, size, shape and lumps. It's very easy to do when you are getting ready in the morning, taking a shower or getting ready for bed. You only need a spare 10 minutes.
- Any visual changes in your breasts such as skin texture.
- Swelling around the armpit or collarbone.
- Unusual changes in the size and shape.
- Nipple inversion or changes in the position
- Any redness from rashes or swelling.
- Unusual pain around the breasts and armpit.
- Any lumps and thickening.
Knicker Locker also has a helpful guide on how to check your breasts here > How to Check your Breasts
Shopping for Mastectomy Bras
All women look for comfort when buying a new bra - so why should a mastectomy bra be any different?
The main features of a mastectomy bra are:
- They have internal pockets that hold the prosthesis or breast form in place.
- Most mastectomy bras have bilateral pockets that are extremely soft against the skin to avoid any discomfort.
- They will come up higher on the neckline and under the arms, so that when moving, the breast form stays in place and won't show.
- Most mastectomy bras are soft cup bras and do not contain any underwires - mainly for comfort reasons and changes to shape.
Different types of mastectomy can change what you are looking for when buying a bra, but fitting one is the same as fitting a standard bra. Take a look at our guide on How to Measure your Bra Size at Home for further help.
Single Mastectomy - the removal of one breast
- same size prosthesis as your other breast so when wearing a bra both sides are equal
- recommended to fit your existing breast first for correct size of prosthesis
- the centre front of the bra should sit flat against the breastbone and not leaning towards your existing breast - if this happens try a cup size bigger
Double Mastectomy - the removal of both breasts
- Could mean the size of you prostheses is your choice
- Make sure the band sits firmly but comfortably against your rib cage
- When adding prostheses check cup size is correct
- Make sure there is no creasing or the prostheses are popping out at side or neckline
Lumpectomy - removal of part of the breast
- Partial breast forms are available to put in the pockets so both sides are equal
- Likely you will be able to wear standard bras again but you may prefer not to
- Ideally start wearing something soft until any swelling or sensitivity settles
Reconstruction- creating a new breast shape with surgery
- Recovery will take longer, so we advise to wear a bra that is soft and comfortable until your shape settles
- Sometimes recommended to wear a compression bra to keep the shape and aid with the healing process
- Ensure bra fits correctly - try our Perfect Fit guide
For more information on the features and fitting for a mastectomy bra take a look at our Fitting for Mastectomy Bras page.
What to expect before, during and after a Mastectomy
As part of Breast Awareness month this October, Knicker Locker will be offering 15% off all their mastectomy bras and matching knickers with code: BREASTAWARE15
WEAR IT PINK
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a worldwide campaign that involved thousands of organisations to highlight breast awareness, education and research through campaigning, raising money and events.
In 1992, Evelyn H. Lauder co-created the pink ribbon and launched The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign, which recognised an urgent need to bring breast cancer to the forefront and put a spotlight on this world health issue. She pioneered this movement and a year later she founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, a non-profit organisation, to generate funding solely dedicated to breast cancer research.
To raise more awareness around breast cancer the Breast Care and Mastectomy Association was renamed Breast Cancer Care, and set up the first UK Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 1994 with the pink ribbon at its heart.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and throughout the year—people wear pink ribbons to honor survivors, remember those lost, and to support the progress we are making together to defeat breast cancer.
Today, the pink ribbon symbolises hope, strength and unity.