Very few women actually take the time to be professionally fitted for a bra. Instead, they guess at their size, including the band size and the cup size. For women after a mastectomy, fitting a bra is even more complicated, so having a professional bra fitting is a must.
However, don’t just use any bra store and staff member even if they are very helpful and are trying to do their best. Look for a certified mastectomy fitter. These professionals may be associated with a lymphedema center or a breast cancer group. To obtain their certification they have had special training in working with women after a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy.
What to Look For
Sometimes, between fittings, you may find your otherwise comfortable bra starts to cause irritation or agitation. This is a sign you need to be refitted and find the right bras for mastectomy based on changes in your body.
If you have done your own measurements for mastectomy bras you may still find there is a variation between brands and styles. This is where a fitter can also help as she can often make suggests for a brand and style that is best suited to your unique needs.
Even without a fitter, look for a few basics to tell you if you are on the right track with bras for mastectomy. A good idea is to try several different brands and styles and keep notes on what works with your body. Buying online and on sale can allow you to find great deals that won’t end up costing a fortune.
One of the biggest complaints that most women have about bras for mastectomy is that they ride up or move up the chest as the day wears on. This bra movement is more problematic for active women or those who work at jobs where they are moving their arms above their head or bending over a lot during the day.
If the bra continually slides up your body, it is most likely too large of a band size. This can happen as the bra elastic relaxes, so try using the next set of hooks if it fastens to the back. It can also be a sign that the shoulder straps need to be lengthened to allow it to stay in place when the shoulder move.
Sore shoulders are typically a sign of a bra that is too small and is putting too much of the weight over the shoulders. It can also be a sign of shoulder straps that are too narrow. Consider moving to more of a sports bra design or at least a wider strap across the top of the shoulders.
Finding the right bra after a mastectomy is a bit of a trial and error experience. Remember, every woman is different and a style that works for one woman may not be comfortable for another.