When you're first diagnosed with breast cancer, all you can
think about is "Am I going to die?" But as you begin to learn to live
with your cancer diagnosis, you start to think about other
things, like "What am I going to look like bald?" It may sound
frivolous, but ask any breast cancer survivor and she'll tell you that she
thought a lot about whether to splurge on that real human hair wig or
what she'd look like in a swimsuit.
Feeling good about how you look is an important part of feeling good about
yourself in general. And no one deserves to feel good about herself more than a
woman who's surviving breast cancer. Fortunately, women with breast cancer
today have a mind-boggling array of options, from wigs and scarves to specialty
bras and swimsuits, designed with their needs in mind.
John W. Anderson has stood by his mother, wife, sister, and his mom’s
closest friend as they battled breast cancer. His new book, Stand by Her: A
Breast Cancer Guide for Men, published in time for National Breast Cancer
Awareness Month, details these experience, and all that he learned by being on
the frontlines of this battle with four of the most important women in his
From when to stay quiet, shave your head, or grab a beer with a buddy to get
out of what he dubs "Cancerland," Anderson...
When Theresa McLeod started fitting mastectomy bras in the 1970s, there were three bras and
two breast forms. Today, in the boutique she manages at the Evelyn Lauder
Breast Center of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, McLeod
stocks a running inventory of about 3,500 bras in 30 to 40 styles. They range
in sizes from 32A and AA up to 52DD. "You can really get anything you
want," McLeod tells WebMD. "Within the last three to five years,
options have really expanded. You can get microfibers, V-cut bras, lace
appliques, and a huge selection of seamless styles."
Kate Rubien, manager of Underneath It All, the boutique at the Clinical
Cancer Center at New York University Cancer Institute, agrees. "Not long
ago, we were excited to get black," she says. "Now we have all kinds of
colors -- one bra comes in mint green, blue, burgundy, and pink. We stock some
bras that look just like expensive Wacoal bras."
Mastectomy bras still look a bit different than regular bras. Because they
include pockets for breast prostheses, they often cover much more of the breast
than do regular bras. But you can also ask to have a pocket sewn into your own
bra to accommodate a breast form. The department store Nordstrom will do this
to any bra they sell, or you can ask at the hospital where you're being