Suffering from breast cancer is indeed a huge fight. Hence, if you’re a woman who has survived breast cancer, allow us to congratulate you on your victories!
After the battle with breast cancer, the recovery process will consequently take place. The recovery is just as paramount as fighting the disease itself, so you should allot your effort in getting back to your everyday life.
One of the most noticeable aftermaths of a breast cancer recovery is the new appearance of your breast. Unfortunately, your breast can’t return to its original state. You may experience redness, swelling, bruises, scars, and asymmetrical boob size.
Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy: Breast Cancer Removal Methods
Physicians will often suggest two cancer removal methods in a developing breast cancer case– lumpectomy or mastectomy.
Lumpectomy, the breast-conserving surgery, will attempt to remove the cancerous breast tissues while preserving the remaining breast. This surgery aims to make the breast look the same as the original one after removing cancer.
Meanwhile, mastectomy is a more guaranteed method of preventing any recurring breast cancer after the patient’s recovery. Since this method removes the entire breast, many women experience psychological issues after the surgery.
Thankfully, one can opt for breast reconstruction surgery.
What Is Reconstruction Surgery? Should You Try It?
A breast reconstruction surgery is performed either by acquiring tissue from other parts of your body, which is known as autologous reconstruction, or creating your breast shape with an artificial implant called implant reconstruction, or both. You can have a mastectomy and breast reconstruction at the same time or let your breasts recover for a while before the reconstruction.
On another end, some women may not want to have breast reconstruction surgery for various reasons, such as the cost, prolonged recovery time, or health complications.
Fortunately, if you don’t want to go under the knife, you still have alternative methods to breast reconstruction surgery:
- Use of Ready-Made Breast Forms
You can bring back the natural look and feel of your breasts without reconstruction surgery, all thanks to breast forms. A breast form or prosthesis is essentially an artificial pair of boobs that you can attach to your chest. They’re relatively easy and reliable, provided that they’re of good quality.
Ideally, you can start looking for an in-store breast form six weeks after your mastectomy to allow your chest incisions to heal and let the swelling subside. Then, you’ll have to find the fill, shape, and size of the cup on your fitting appointment and find which breast form is closest to your measurements.
- Use of Custom-Made Breast Forms
To help you feel like breast forms are your actual skin, custom-made breast forms, as the name implies, are created for you only. It’s exactly the same as off-the-shelf breast forms, but the only difference is that you can choose which breast form material you’d like to have made–foam, silicone gel, or fiberfill.
In ready-made breast forms, you have the option not to see a professional fitter and visit a physical store instead to try out their prosthetics. When looking for a custom-made one, a professional fitter’s guidance is necessary.
- Wearing Mastectomy Bras
Since breast forms are purely artificial and have to be manually attached, it’s essential to provide weight support and alleviate the discomfort you may experience. Mastectomy bras are specifically made for that purpose.
If you’re using a ready-made breast form, it’s crucial to get a mastectomy bra with the right size as they contain pockets to hold your breast form. However, using a mastectomy bra is optional with custom-made breast forms, and you may choose to wear your regular bras.
- Take The Flat Path
If you’re not up to wearing any breast form or mastectomy bra, then you can simply go flat without any need for breast forms and mastectomy bras. Going flat is an excellent option for many survivors to accept and be more comfortable with themselves.
Furthermore, it’s vital to discuss this decision with your surgeon to evaluate if you’re prepared for the aesthetic issues you may encounter without any breast reconstruction. If your surgeon isn’t taking this matter seriously or isn’t listening to you, you can ask other surgeons’ opinions through an appointment.
After fighting against breast cancer, getting back on regular your path can be challenging. Whether you’d want to have a breast reconstruction surgery or not, the choice is entirely up to you. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, beautiful, and confident with yourself, go for it.
If a breast reconstruction surgery doesn’t sit well with your budget, preferences, and other circumstances, it’s completely fine to seek alternatives discussed in this article. Most importantly, make sure that you’re being guided by a professional on your post-surgery journey.