As part of the Bras for a Cause Campaign we’re working on with Fustany.com is one special category to design a bra for a breast cancer survivor. These bras are also known as mastectomy bras as they are custom-designed to fit a prosthesis and provide the support needed post-mastectomy surgery. It’s a delicate topic as it is, and as a woman writing this, I know how important breasts are – not just as part of our physical appearance but also of our femininity.
In this region of the world too, these bras that help a breast cancer survivor feel better about herself post-treatment are rare and not something you can easily find at local lingerie shops.
Today I met with Dr. Yolande Badre who runs Pharmacie Badre close to Sodeco Square and learned even more about these bras. They are actually one of the few distributors of these bras in Lebanon and Dr. Yolande showed me a few of their samples. Some of them were very pretty with fine detailing and textures, which I didn’t expect. She mentioned also new lines of these bras coming out in a few months that will be even more trendy and for younger survivors. Some of the bras they sell can be seen here.
As we got more into the topic, she showed me the actually prostheses that goes into the bra, how they are inserted and finally how natural the bra can look with them in. Even though a bra might seem like an insignificant concern during cancer treatment, it actually plays a big role in helping them recover and feel better about themselves.
After having seen a few samples, I realized you can get really creative in designing these bras. A few recommendations though for anyone taking part in the Bras for a Cause contest to design these bras:
– The bra itself should cover the entire breast
– The bra straps are generally wider than standard bras, however the latest designs for these bras have thinner straps and still provide the same support needed.
– The inside lining is very important to firmly hold the prosthesis in place. Usually this is done with two openings in the lining: One right below the strap on the inside of the bra and the second opening is under the armpit to adjust the prosthesis for a better fit.
– Many times the fabrics are cotton, but there are several options made with a more waterproof fabric (I’m guessing Lycra) that allows the women to also go swimming in the bras if they wish.
– The most common size for these bras tend to be 90B with most requested prostheses coming in B or C cups.
I suggest that anyone taking part go ahead and ask a woman they know who’s gone through breast cancer treatment what she ideally would like in her bra. After all, the bras should reflect her needs and preferences too. If she has a mastectomy bra she doesn’t mind showing you, even better (but make sure she’s comfortable with that first of course). It’s a whole other experience to see these bras in-person to better understand the functionality behind them as well as how the fabrics are sewn for the pockets inside them. This will provide invaluable insight when it comes time to design one yourself.
We’ve created a quick, anonymous survey with the help of CanSurvive (Egypt) that you can share with them. We’ll be posting insights from these results soon for all designers to get a better idea when designing these bras.
We hope many of you taking part will consider designing a bra for these women. Get as creative as you can and let’s give them a bra that will not only make them feel comfortable, but sexy as well. The winning designs will be produced and distributed across the Middle East for women that need them.