Breast cancer survivors wearing the prosthesis, which appears like a natural bust.
Breast cancer survivors wearing the prosthesis, which appears like a natural bust.

Hope returns confidence

YOU have breast cancer.

One diagnosis which sends a ripple of fear through every woman.

In Australia, one in 11 women will hear those four frightening words spoken to them before they reach the age of 75.

And despite significant medical advances in the early diagnosis and treatment available for those affected by this all-too-common disease, life after breast cancer remains full of mixed emotions.

Post surgery, women who have undergone a mastectomy (breast removal surgery) or lumpectomy (breast conserving surgery) to remove the cancer, often feel different and disfigured.

Many even avoid looking at themselves in the mirror. Their cancer has gone. But their appearance of normal womanhood has gone with it.

Carmel Sanne of The Hope Chest in Grafton firmly believes every woman should feel like themselves again after beating breast cancer.

On a weekly average, six breast cancer survivors of all ages come into her shop to purchase a mastectomy bra or prosthesis.

But Carmel can offer them more. She can give them back their life as it was before breast cancer.

“Every woman’s surgery to remove breast cancer is different but many women feel incredibly self conscious after because they know their bodies don’t feel the same,” she said.

“Women who have had these procedures just want to look and feel normal again – and they can.”

“American Breast Care (ABC) has developed a breast prosthesis. Made from silicone, the prosthesis is an artificial breast which can be inserted into any normal bra to give the appearance of a natural bust.

“The confidence it restores in women is just amazing.”

Carmel sees many ladies who are breast cancer survivors come into The Hope Chest hunched forward because they are extremely conscious of their appearance.

In store, they are properly fitted with a suitable bra and prosthesis and walk out upright with smiles on their faces.

“I can’t describe the feeling when I see this happen,” Carmel said.

There are many techniques to fitting a lady who has undergone surgery depending on whether she has had a mastectomy or lumpectomy.

But there is always a way to look like a normal woman again.

“Prostheses are available in all sizes and shapes, so a lady with oddly positioned breasts can be specifically fitted to give her breasts a balanced appearance,” Carmel said.

“A woman should never let surgery diminish her or restrict the type or style of bra she wants to wear.

“Women can come into The Hope Chest and select any bra they want, providing it feels comfortable and looks good.

“For $5 a pocket can be sewn into the bra so the prosthesis can be inserted. This money is then donated to breast cancer research.”

The cost of a prosthesis starts at $400 depending on its form.

After paying an up-front cost, ladies who have had a mastectomy can then claim back the $400 rebate from Medicare.

To assist the ladies who cannot afford the up-front cost The Hope Chest established a Breast Cancer Awareness Fund, donated by the community to assist with the purchase of a twin prothesis.

For women left with keloid scarring after surgery, Carmel highly recommends buying the Massage Form Asymmetric Prosthesis.

“This prosthesis from ABC gently massages the area around the scar after surgery and it is also designed to prevent uncomfortable shifting in your bra and create air circulation,” she said.

“I always tell my customers to go with the best prosthesis

available and this is one of them.

“The prosthesis also passes the hug test, meaning when people greet you with a hug and give you a squeeze they will have no idea that you’re wearing a prosthesis.

“Breast cancer is damaging for a lot of women. The prosthesis can give women their confidence again.”

Penny Dudding, managing director for ABC in Australia, will be at The Hope Chest on Monday and Tuesday, providing special prostheses fittings.

Bookings are essential. To make an appointment call The Hope Chest on 6642 7309.

All appointments for fittings will be confidential.

Call The Hope Chest today.

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