Boosting Confidence After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but we need to create awareness for the disease and to help inform women about their options when facing the possibility of mastectomy throughout the year.

According to, one in eight women will face breast cancer at least once in their lifetime. With early detection and gene mapping, preventive mastectomy is a very real option chosen by many women.

Anita Care addresses potential loss in body confidence with its TriPro Vita System, which provides post-mastectomy bras and swimwear as well as prosthetics for each stage of treatment. The collection helps a woman regain volume and shape in an area that is often a part of her feminine identity. Each model of prosthetic is designed for a specific stage of treatment from post-op care, partial compensation to full compensation.

Mark Caskenette, managing director at Anita Canada Ltd., recommends the first prosthesis fitting about three months after surgery, after swelling has subsided, although post-surgical compression bras should be worn immediately after reconstruction surgery to ensure the breasts stay properly positioned during healing. And look for a quick-drying swim prosthesis designed to remove water from the breast area.

Marie Josée Koury, a fit expert at Wacoal Canada, recommends light padding or a soft-cup. If using an underwire, no wire should be touching the breast tissue or incisions.

Regardless of health, annual bra fittings continue to be important, adds Koury, particularly as we age: menopause brings loss of muscle tone and change in waist size; gravity comes into play. A proper fit provides comfort and improves appearance. If the band is too loose, it rides up and the front comes down, creating a saggy silhouette. For that dreaded back fat, says Koury, choose a bra with more coverage and wider side panels, with three hooks instead of one or two. A bra with a leotard back (straps are closer to the centre of the back) helps smooth back fat and prevents straps from falling. Koury’s top fit tip? “When you raise your arms, no breast tissue should fall out from the bottom.”

Eveden’s national fit specialist, Frederika Zappe, affirms that the principles of fit remain the same. Does the centre gore touch the chest wall? Are the underwires sitting under and around the breast tissue? Is the band snug enough to stay parallel to the floor? As for back fat, Zappe says, “Women think that just going up in the band will solve this. Often, going down in the cup and up in the band works. If the band is too loose, it will ride up the back taking the ‘fluffy’ bits with it, creating bulges.”

Zappe’s secret fit tip? Swoop and scoop. “You’ll never get that perfect fit without adjusting your breast tissue in the cups. Swooping and scooping will change how the bra fits. You’ll probably find you need to go up a cup size and down a band size, as you’ve brought the breast tissue out of the band area into the cups where it belongs. A perfectly fitting bra will make you look longer, leaner. Your posture improves, your shoulders relax and your spine will straighten, as the bra will take over the job of supporting your breasts.”

A version of this article appeared in the October 2016 issue with the headline, “How To Get The Right Fit,” p. 24.