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Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Mich1135 on May 2, 2020 3:03 pm

Hello ladies,

I know there are a lot more pressing issues out there but my question is: what do you wear for a bathing suit? I had my single mastectomy in March and plan to go flat by next summer. Are there specific prosthetics for water? Do they actually stay in place? If you are flat, do you wear a bathing suit top with no prosthetic? Do they even make bathing suit tops for flat chested women? My son is only 6 months old and I want to be able to take him to swim lessons etc. Once he's older I don't want to "embarrass " him by having no top on. Sorry for all the questions! I don't know anyone personally going through this at my age. Older women at my Church who have gone through this said they wouldn't even think to wear a bathing suit in the rest of their lifetime so that doesn't help me! 

Thanks again ladies! 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by ashcon on May 2, 2020 4:28 pm

Hi Mich1135‍   Michelle,

How refreshing to see someone thinking about swimming. And summer. And outdoor activities!
I am 56 yrs old, flat and looked at a few options. I even purchased a mastectomy Tankini top with inserts that you can wear in the water which I took down to Costa Rica after I finished treatment.
Personally, I found the inserts heavy, so ended up wearing the tankini without the inserts. I found it helpful to wear something with a pattern if you're going to go flat. The pattern creates a visual distraction!
Also, many mastectomy swimsuits have a higher cut at neckline and underarms to conceal scars, radiation tattoos etc.
Some good inspiration can be found here: https://www.anita.com/ca/product-spotlight/breast-care/mastectomy-swimwear.html

I'm sure your son will be PROUD of you when he gets old enough and sees that you don't let a little ole mastectomy stop you from doing what you want to do!
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Wendy Tea on May 2, 2020 4:55 pm

Mich1135‍   Great ideas from ashcon‍!   Patterns work well. Also if you can get extra fabric on top like ruffles that will help increase the perception of volume. Here comes summer!

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Mich1135 on May 2, 2020 7:22 pm

ashcon and Wendy (sorry won't let me tag you). Thanks for the suggestions! I had no idea there were such bikinis! Since you decided to not wear the prosthetics in your tankini did the top still fit properly? Are they only made to be worn with the prosthetic? In theory, if I found a high necked "normal" bikini top with pattern or extra fabric would that work (if going flat)? Sorry, this is all so new and it makes it difficult not being able to go try things on! 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by ashcon on May 2, 2020 8:34 pm

Hi Mich1135
Yes, you could make it work 👍
The top without the inserts worked fine for me because, in addition to having a pattern, it had some tucks and pleats which kinda made it tight against my chest. 
You're younger than me, so something tells me you could pull anything off! Wear it with pride, girl! 
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by WestCoastSailor on May 2, 2020 9:54 pm

So I just wear a pair of swim trunks and go topless. I love swimming and hot tubs. I was a little self conscious at first. I've only had one person look at me funny.

Mind you this is your regular reminder that men get breast cancer too (though not as many) and have mastectomies. I do have a bit of hair that conceals the scars mostly. And I do make jokes about my sword fighting scars. I suppose I could wear a t-shirt...

Angus (sneaking away snickering)

My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Kims1961 on May 3, 2020 10:45 am

Mich1135‍   I echo the others - in particular how wonderful it is to think of swimming!! 

I love to swim and often drove 1.5 hours just to swim in the closest indoor pool.  After my mastectomy, I was very self conscious about not just being flat - but i'm almost concave up top.  There is another awesome Facebook group - called Flat In Canada.  They were discussing this very topic.  Someone suggested that Old Navy  have some bathing suits that have a simple ruffle around the top.  It works great to distract.  They also suggested that many bathing suits with the removal cups, can also work.  Old Navy tends to be cheap, although quality can suffer .  

Just before COVID, i decided i was just going to swim in my regular TYR or Speedo - they don't have cups - and i thought - to heck with it - I am who I am.  

Next...I may just do an Angus WestCoastSailor‍ and just don a pair of trunks and go topless!   Hey Angus - don't forget your red hat while you swim!


Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Mich1135 on May 3, 2020 1:29 pm

WestCoastSailor‍ your post gave me a good laugh. I had to read it twice to fully understand!! Wearing just trunks could be a good option. Make people feel bad for staring haha!

Kims1961‍ thanks for the reply! I might join that group you mentioned. Not flat yet but plan to be by next summer! I'm glad you found a great option for you! I can't wait to go try things on in stores to find the right match for me! 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Bgirl on May 4, 2020 9:16 am

Mich1135‍ Suits are definitely trial and error.  When the stores are open, look at options and think outside the box.  How much you want to spend can make a difference too.  I had a partial mastectomy in Nov 2011.  I wore a partial in a post mastectomy bra when I wanted to make my clothes look good.  For swimming at the local pool just went a bit lopsided and wore speedo one piece from Costco.  For a beach vacation sewed a foam cup in to even the suit up (nicely ruched suit from The Bay I think).
In December 2019 had a double mastectomy.  Before the lockdown I was back at the pool.  Had bought a one piece from Costco, they come with built in foam - about $22.  I go to the pool frequently to do my aquatic lymphatic therapy for lymphedema and the chlorine eats them.  The foam tends to swell in the water and ripple, so I cut down the middle and removed a piece and sewed it flat.  It is a little to fill in the concave and so I just look flat.  Quick and cheap - only a needle and thread.  I haven't looked into beachwear yet.
The breast forms for a single are often heavier than for a double.  They are trying to balance the natural cup size. My partial was as heavy as my full prosthesis.  Another tip for flat clothes, go to a second had store - many styles and many options in one place.  A cheap place to try out styles.  High neck and halter, flowy and not tucked in so it covers ribcage.
If you have any questions, message me.

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Hezz on May 4, 2020 7:26 pm

Thanks for making this post and thanks Angus WestCoastSailor‍ for making me laugh so loud I woke my dog up!

I am wrestling with this very topic Michelle Mich1135‍ so I am hoping you don't mind if I add my question to your brilliant discussion.

I've been looking at amazon.ca and I found a tankini that I like for about $50. I was never much of a bikini person before my double mastectomy (too much ab work), but I am not comfy enough with myself yet to go flat. The tankini is meant for post-mastectomy and has the pockets built in.

So now for the swimming-temp-boobs. The cheapest silicone prosthesis that I can find are $60 total. They are meant for "crossdressers, mastectomy, transgender, cosplay"...but they don't specific say for swimming. Has anyone ever tried swimming with a silicon breast form? I am guessing that I'd be ok since they will be secured in the pocket?

Hezz :)

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by BookLover on May 5, 2020 8:27 am

When I want to have a "balanced " look in a bathing suit, I put a bath poof from the dollar store in the empty cup and secure it with safety pins. I made a small breast shaped pocket and insert the poof into it. Makes it easier to secure in place with the pins. Works like a charm as it is lightweight and drys right away. Got this idea from another online group and have been quite happy with it. Worth a try! 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Wendy Tea on May 5, 2020 9:38 am

BookLover‍ Thanks for the great laugh! I wear my fake boob to keep my spine aligned but I can imagine popping in a bath poof on a screaming hot day when I need more comfort. So hilarious!  Necessity is the mother of invention! 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Buffythevampire on May 5, 2020 11:20 am

Has anyone tried one of the knitted knockers in a bathing suit? I wonder if it would work. It wouldn't dry as fast as the bath poof that BookLover‍ suggested though.

I have reconstruction done so I can't experiment.

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by ng_minus1 on May 5, 2020 4:35 pm

Hi everyone,

Very good suggestions here, going to try a few. Here are my experiences, following my left side mastectomy almost a year now (May 31). I got two breast forms for swimming/being in the water, one is a silicon one specially made for water from Amoena with a bit of weight to it for balance but was pretty expensive. It does hold very well in the water and dries very quickly, I like it a lot. I also got another one that is material based but has beads inside and can be worn normally or in water as well, this second one is from trulife. I like it and was cheaper than the first, dries a bit slower but not bad. I got two tankini tops for mastectomy (they were on sale) and matched them with my previous bottoms. Of course, the only issue is that one of my sides now looks good, the one with the form, while the other tends to go down :) I think it also depends on the size of the remaining breast. But all in all, makes it worthwhile to be able to go in the water and enjoy. Hope we have the chance this summer.

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Ineke on May 6, 2020 5:02 pm

I have found that the mastectomy bras from La Vie En Rose are magnificent!  They are comfy and reasonably priced.  They come with breast inserts that can be used with swimsuits that you already have (as long as they have the little pocket where the liner usually sits).  I have not had to invest in mastectomy swim wear (which can be crazy expensive).

Hope this helps!

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Judy Best Breast Vest Co on May 14, 2020 12:02 pm

Hi there,
I bought a silicon breast for swimming that I call my jellyfish breast. It is cheaper and lighter than a normal prostheses so I use it in my mastectomy bra as well. Most of the time, in every day life, I wear a specially made vest over my shirt. It has pockets in the front for the light foam inserts that you get in sports bras. I stack them to match my remaining breast. It is great right now when I am home all the time - no tight underwear for me - but I still look normal around my family and I can answer the door and work in the garden without getting dressed up. I am starting a business to sell them online. If anyone wants to get a free one and help me with some feedback, I'd be really pleased.

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by QuarantineAndMe on May 15, 2020 6:14 am

What a great question! I'm still healing from my left mastectomy so I've just been dealing with unevenness so my incision can heal.

Honestly, I haven't even tried to hide that my clothes at the chest is uneven but I'm sure once I've healed and am ready to swim I'll be asking this question so thank you for posting it. 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by jlbns78 on May 16, 2020 8:43 pm

Hi, I am 41 and have a 4year old girl.  I had a mastectomy in March and haven't worn a prosthesis yet. I look forward to being flat!  I just bought a bikini top that has minimal padding for swimming this summer. Best of luck. My little one thinks it's cool that I had my booboo removed! 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Hezz on May 17, 2020 6:06 pm

Hi again Mich1135‍ ...
I got my swim suit!!!

It was $29.99 from amazon.ca and comes with pockets for swim-boobs but also has super light pads so you probably could just use those. I'm wishing I had been a bit less cautious and got one if the pretty patterns but I love it!!! https://www.amazon.ca/Flounce-Printed-Boyshorts-Tankini-Swimsuits/dp/B083FCSX16/ref=mp_s_a_1_14_sspa?keywords=mastectomy%2Bswimwear&qid=1589752879&sprefix=mastectomy%2Bswim&sr=8-14-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyRlc3OTJWVEpPMksxJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNDYwMjU2MjhJQ1dFUjFSTkRLWiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDU0NDc3MzVIRkszM1JRRjdSSiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX3Bob25lX3NlYXJjaF9tdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl&th=1

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Lauren55 on May 18, 2020 11:58 am

Buffythevampire‍ , Hezz‍ and sorry can’t remember everyone’s names.  I have been swimming with bilateral mastectomy for a few years.  At home I don’t care what it looks like unless someone else is visiting and using the pool.  I have silicone foobs to round out my clothing.  I only wear them when going out with people I don’t know and when I don’t want to have a mastectomy discussion.  I also have silicone swim foobs.  They are lighter and made of a bit different material than my main foobs.  The chlorine will break down regular foobs.  Quite expensive to just go swimming.  If going silicone and swimming get the correct foobs, they have a different interior also dry faster.  I also have knitted knockers.  They are free or you can send a donation.  They have daily wear knockers and swim knockers.  Again, the swim ones dry faster and hold up in the chlorine better.  Sometimes I wear them when on holiday but usually I don’t.  I go for high cut, patterned tops, some with ruffles some without.  My favourite bathing suits are from Costco.  I have a Roots tankini and a one piece speedo.  I find if some if my scars show people just glance and don’t ask questions.  I do my best to cover them but they creep out at the sides. 
My store where I get my foobs has a section with returned donated foobs,  That is where I got my silicone swim foobs from.   They are not identical but neither were my natural boobs.  They also sell bathing suits and are open to one client at a time a couple days a week.  I had reconstruction but the finished product is not much bigger than the amount my stomach sticks out.  At work I go without a bra and foobs.  But swimming is different.  
 I strongly suggest you just find a suit you like and that makes you feel beautiful and rock it with or without foobs.  Main thing is to enjoy yourself.  

have a fabulous summer

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Kims1961 on May 18, 2020 12:09 pm

Hezz‍  Great swimsuit!!!  Very fashionable and I have to say the hat is a perfect touch.  Thank you for sharing.  I wish more swimsuit manufacturers would consider all body sizes/shapes when posting their swimsuit options.  A recent Dove commercial has a woman who has had a mastectomy  😊

Thank you for posting!
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Cinderella59 on May 19, 2020 6:32 am

Hi ladies Lauren55‍ love your flower on your profile picture. 

You had also mentioned you have knitted knockers.  How do you attached them to your bathing suit?  Don’t you need cups Or whatever there called inside your bathing suit for them not to move?  Most bathing suits have them but I didn’t think speedos do.   
I’ve had a mastectomy on my left side and no reconstruction. 

stay safe. 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Cinderella59 on May 19, 2020 7:31 am

Hi Hezz‍ I just saw your picture, do you think you could send me some pictures of the inside of your tankini. So I can see what you mean “Removable and Replaceable Cup Pads.”  
If i order from Amazon can you easily return it. I’m not sure what size I am bc I’ve lost a lot of weight. 

Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Lauren55 on May 19, 2020 10:32 am

Cinderella59‍ hi, thank you about the flower on my profile.  My Dad passed away from cancer a year before  I was diagnosed.  He had fabulous gardens.  This was one of his dahlias I was able to grow in his honour.
As for the tops, I just did a little modification to the suits.  One had a small opening in the breast gusset so I was able to squeeze the swim knocker through the other had a double lined breast gusset So I made an opening. You have to be a bit diligent about them staying in place but I found they didn’t move much because bathing suits are naturally snug. If you want extra assurance that they won’t move around in the suit a little safety pin would work.   When I buy my suits I try to find ones with defined breast gussets and a little opening.  It makes life so much easier. 
Another good bathing suit top is to just wear a nice fitting sports bra or pretty bralette with pockets and a complimentary bottom.  I like bottoms with a bit if a skirt.  Thing is bathing suits are just that, something in your wardrobe you deem to be worn in the water.  Have fun with it.  And always remember to rinse them in cool, clean water afterward to stop them from fading so fast. I wish I was as secure with my looks as the lady on the Dove commercial then I wouldn’t need to alter the tops.  
Live Love Laugh


Re: Mastectomy ladies and what to wear?

Posted by Pokergal on Aug 14, 2020 8:58 am

I have knitted knickers. The swim ones. They are awesome. You can goggle it or join their Facebook group and they will send you free knitted knickers, regular and swim ones! 
I also wear ruffled suits so it’s not too noticeable. 
however, I will tell you what my family said to me after my Masectomy, “ hold your head up
high and be proud of what you went through”
so I don’t care if one side is flat and the other big. I’m proud of my survival! 
hold your head up gals.... we did it!!!!!