Adding my support to what you said Jeniffer. I did make that exact point about how much a reconstruction (and probable revisions) would have cost in comparison to a prosthesis, to the prosthetics officer at my local hospital but just gave up when she started going on about her own budget. I worked for the NHS a few years ago and the inflexibility around budgets was one of the reasons I left. I was issued with my first prosthesis at the same hospital and was issued with a leaflet explaining that it would be replaced two years later. Apparently this has never been the case, according to the prosthetics offier! I (politely) suggested she communicated more closely with the BCN team and then gave up and just bought my own - not worth wasting my energy arguing.
As regards bras. I took my adhesive prosthesis along to my local Debenhams where there is a lovely bra fitter. She found me several styles which cover the prosthesis and are more attractive and much cheaper than mastectomy bras.
Welsh Girl - sorry to hear the adhesive prosthesis was uncomfortable for you, that's a shame.
I do wear various bras with the adhesive prosthesis whereby the prosthesis does peep out at the top. I personally feel fine with this. I never did wear clothes with revealing necklines but definitely don't now because if I lean forward far enough when wearing my mastectomy bras with non-adhesive prosthesis in a pocket, it is possible to see the flat chested area. Admittedly someone would have to look quite hard but I just feel most comfortable going out wearing higher necklines so that my adhesive prosthesis or flat chest can't be spotted.
I also find some of the strappy tops with built-in bra are excellent and fit so well that for me they totally eliminate any concern about what can be seen when I lean forward.
Absolutely well said Jennifer! We are indeed saving the NHS a small fortune by opting for prostheses instead of surgery, why don't more realise that?
Just to clarify, I have my new contact after 3 years of my old non-contact form. Having put on weight over the 3 years my old form was definitely too small so my BCN said I would be entitled to a new one. I also seem to remember her saying that I could have a replacement every 3 years when I was fitted for my first one, so it may be worth checking out what the terms are of your region's policy (if indeed they have one).
As for bras, now I have my new contact I need to go bra shopping again. The BCN who fitted it for me said we almost need a different form for each bra shape and it'll involve a lot of trial and (hopefully not) error to get it right. You should not expect old bras from pre-BC to fit and I'd thoroughly recommend finding a good bra-fitter. I'm going to have a quick go myself in M&S tomorrow, maybe just to get one more to do me over Christmas, then I'll go back to my lovely fitter in Malvern to get some properly fitting ones.
That is such a strong point Jeniffer.
Really annoyed that women have to 'fight' this postcode lottery when they are at their lowest ebb! It is so unfair.
I ordered one of these breast forms and haven't found it at all comfortable because of getting it off without tearing at my everso tender skin....but even so I had the opportunity to trial it.
Now I just use it with it's back on and it is an extra prosthesis.
I find having a white bra and black bra 'filled' ready helps me cope with my fast fuelled existence.....
Can I also ask why women think this breast form helps them wear a greater variety of bras?
Mine is 'seen' from the side and top if I wear one of my own bras, ie. one from before my mx but in perfect condition!
I always wear a mx bra because of this....
Do others not mind if parts of the prosthesis show outside the cups?
Would love to hear some responses.
What the powers that be need to bear in mind is that those of us who opt for a prosthesis rather than reconstruction are saving the NHS a fortune regardless of what type we are given.
Thanks for the thought Bella. BCC told me they did write to the DOH about this issue in September 2010, not sure if Breakthrough have lobbied on it too. Sorry to say that I have given up challenging the 'postcode lottery' issues I have encountered along the way since diagnosis. It does make me mad but I'm trying to feel more relaxed about such things and channel my energy into getting back to normal.
Anyway, like you I am pleased with my stick-on prosthesis. I find I can wear a much bigger range of bras with it which is nice as some of the pocketed bras aren't very exciting and some are very expensive.
My stick-on is a Harmony Silk Connect made by Trulife which has a really clever feature on the back where the shape of the adhesive area allows for insertion of one's thumb in order to remove it from one's chest wall with minimum pulling on the skin.
Hi ladies I just wanted to make you aware of my breast form and bra fitting centre of excellence, we are based in the midlands however we can guide by email or freephone. It pains me to see ladies struggling with things like swimming without confidence I can help you in an instant to regain that confidence with the right tools ! As a former patient I know what you are going through and took steps to help everyone with my knowledge. http://www.sharonfoxcancercentre.org.uk please do get in touch xx
That's a real shame! Have you contacted Breakthrough, as they have advocates who lobby for 'undoing' the postcode lottery and they may not be aware of this?
Don't assume that a stick-on prosthesis is available on the NHS. It varies according to the policy of your local trust - mine refused so I had to pay for mine. Another example of the postcode lottery, I'm afraid.
They recommend that you still wear a bra with a contact but YOU CAN USE IT WITHOUT - HOORAYYYY!!!! Supporting tops are best, those with a built-in shelf thingy. I haven't tried it yet as it's currently a bit cold for a halter-neck (its hailing!) but am assured it'll be OK.
Note: these are available on the NHS! I got mine because I'd put on weight with tx (the only advantage of doing so 🙂 ) so needed a new booby anyway. It has taken several fittings with my BCN and I'm having to iterate between her and my lovely bra-fitter as the only downside I've discovered is that each prosthesis only fits one particular bra type, so you need to be patient and decide what sort and shape you really want.
Have to say, after 2 days I know that I love it!. So nice to go shopping for feminine lingerie instead of the cumbersome unattractive pocketed ones. Its so nice to look down and see my bust pointing in the right direction and not see two boobs shifting to one side.
Because its still new to me I sometimes an aware of it but when getting on with life just totally forget that it is there.
I waited about 9 months after mastectomy to let the skin settle and then booked an appointment at Amoena for the Contact prosthesis, not really being happy with the pocketed option. The staff were wonderful, I had a private fitting (and found I was wearing the wrong size bra and prosthesis)and was able to try on any clothes in ths shop that I wanted. I came out with the Contact, all the cleaning products, etc and some gorgeous underwear and swimwear. it cost me about £150 for the Contact. It really does make a difference with being confident and it's very comfortable, as long as you look after it properly. It's supposed to stay 'sticky' for 2 years, but after 14 months, I phoned the orthotics dept and gave them the details of my COntact and got it replaced on the NHS.
I am picking my contact prosthesis up tomorrow so can tell you what it's like. I have largish breast size, size 11, so can say what that's like from that point of view. I hear they are like marmite but have only heard good things so far
Just come across this thread, thanks everyone. I hadn't thought about a new prosthesis, I've only got a softie. So I'll be back on the phone today to get an appointment!
Hey Ladies, I've got a contact form!!!! (stick on boobie)
It's on trial at the mo as my BCN took pity on me. Amoena have been telling the hozzy they can't exchange them now but she's going to look into that for me.
The one I've got is a bit too small, but she's lent it to me to see if anything upsets my skin (I get eczema), i.e the tacky surface itself or the Amoena cleanser. So far I've worn it for 3 days and all I have is a bit of a stiff pectoral muscle where it's pulled on the skin a bit. It's really comfortable and I haven't felt insecure at all.
I'll keep you posted...!
Im happy to read this info.I hate it when i lean forward my bra comes forward and every one see all. 😞 I will be ringing my b.c nurse tomorrow thanks x
Thank-you for this Shelley - how ingenious of you!
The problem is that the pockets inside the swimming cozzies are too big for my A-cup form so it sinks to the bottom. I've thought about stitching it up somehow but can't find a way of doing it that won't show on the outside.
I've just emailed my BCNs to ask about self-adhesive forms as I'm about to hit my 3rd anniversary post-mx and am pretty sure I'm due a replacement; I think this could be the way forwards.
Thanks again everyone,
I'm only small - size 34B in my remaining boob, but I don't have a swimming breast form - I use oen of the netted scrunchy pompom balls that you buy to wash yourself in the bath/shower with. Cos I'm so small, I have to buy the small size ones which arent as easily available, but they work really well. They dont move inside your swim pocket, but just to be sure, I always place the net scrunchie inside a breast form cover. It looks as if it's going to be lumpy inside your swim pocket because of the net "ruffles" but once inide you can't tell it's there. Also, because theyre designed for use in water, they dont hold the water when you get out of the pool. Don't know whether you'd want to try wearing one, instead of the form you've been using.
You could always practice by wearing it in the bath inside your swimming costume. That's what I did!
Lastly, for me personally, it's also a bit of a two-fingered gesture to bc that I can wear something as ordinary as a wash scrunchie inside my mastectomy cossie! Lol!
Thank you all so much for this discussion. I haven't been swimming with my children these school holidays because my wretched form sinks inside the pocket of my swimming cozzie (Amoena), so that when I get out of the water my boob is down near my waist! I'm so self conscious of it I've refused to go in the water.
Guess who I'll be making an appointment with this week....?!!!
Just got a stick-on - It's GREAT!! I'm small breasted mind . But I forget it's there , can swim in it . it looks very natural and moves like the other breast. It doesn't rub and irritate the scar ( had surgery 8 weeks ago , healed very well,nice piratey scar) so I'm not getting hardly any pain there now . Fantastic.
My very lovely Breast Care Nurse got it for me on NHS , no charge.It's an Amoena. Who ever made it deserves a prize.
All the best with it.
I am a bit dissapointed this week i have pain in my back just around from my scar and the end of my breast bone, does anyone think it could be all the pulling which make the nearve ends
a bit sensitive, i just hope i dont have to go back to the soft prothesis which they give you when you come out of hospital.
Or is it somthing else to worry about any thoughts please been feeling so well and healthy up till now. Ange xx
HI emmbee, good to hear starting with a stick on one not as daunting as it sometimes sounds - haven't got mine yet as I am trying to loose a little weight first and get a size smaller than the one I have now - also might stick better if smaller !!
ta for posting, Nicola
Well, I went to be measured today and came home wearing a contact boob. I must say that it felt much better than the ones I have been using but, it came unstuck whilst I was wearing it. Anyone had this problem?
I understand that the Amoena ones with the bubbles are much stickier and so harder to remove. Mine is a Truelife, no bubbles and there is a central part which is not sticky. Very comfortable to wear. I had to put it on about three times to find the correct place so maybe that's why it would not stay on. I have washed it and will try again tomorrow.
How are you all doing with yours?
Thanks for the advice! Really helpful!
Once I'd got the position right I didn't really notice it at all after all the tugging and pulling! However, when I changed clothes in the evening it was definitely NOT in the correct spot.
Good to know it gets easier....
Well done Ms Molly,I admire you coping with two parallel mounds!
I did try wearing it in bed but it fell off during the night which was good for me as I didn't have to do all that peeling!!!
However, I'm sure I'll get used to it with time...
Thanks again for all your helpful hints. Where else would you get such advice and so willingly given.
Tight hugs to you all from Welsh girl x
Getting the boob to stick on in the right place first time can be tricky, once it's got a hold it doesn't want to let go.
I find the best way is to put on your bra first, then lean forward and slide the form inside your bra cup, then (with one hand supporting your bra cup) straighten up and press the cup/form towards your body until it sticks.
Once you've done it that way for a week or two, you gradually get to recognise the "right" placement.
Welsh girl - the top bit of the contact boob is a bit of a downside I think - it comes up quite high on the chest which limits what you can wear. Vest tops work well though.
It took me quite a while to decide where it feels most comfortable to stick it. Also I had a bilateral mx so I have to match them up.
When taking it off I lean forward and then pull the skin taut. I make enough room to wiggle all four fingers underneath it (on the side by my arm) and then I lift it off gradually (keeping skin taut) so that it doesn't pull drag too much.
I couldn't wear them everyday - but I do like the flexibility of the back covers so I can use them as "normal" prostheses too.
Good luck with it - I am really happy with mine.
Hi Welsh girl,
Yes, I had this problem when I had to move mine - they stick really well don't they, and I've got 2 to move....!
I have found it easier to remove by leaning forward, taking the weight of the prosthesis in one hand, and then gently peeling away with the other(seems less painful than being completely upright).
Hope this helps.XXX
My contact prosthesis arrived today, only ordered yesterday!
Couldn't wait to try it on.
I've been wearing it this afternoon and I hardly notice it!(I'm 36A)
That's great but when I was trying to position it I had to move it which was pretty awkward! It hurt to peel it off!
Not sure if I'm doing it right?
Can anyone offer any suggestions as to how to take it off?
I may well be in it for days at this rate!
I'll just wait for it to fall off!!!!
I think the scar site is pretty delicate so any peeling off really pulls the tender skin.
It feels very comfortable but still only able to wear mx bras as they're the only ones that cover the top of the prosthesis.
Maybe with a fitted dress or shelf Tshirt you could go without....
so, I have plenty of further trials to try....
I'll let you know how I get on...
Welsh girl x
OOoohhh, how exciting!!! I can't wait to go shopping!!!! thin straps, pretty designs, cheaper prices... it's a whole new world!!!
Yes happyshopper, that's the joy of wearing the contact form - no more horrible pocketed bras!
So long as they cover the contact form and support the other side and are comfortable, anything goes. Yippee!
Gosh jennifer, that's awful!! Could you just imagine if that was an implant inside you....
i'm sure if you let your BCN know she will get it exchanged for a new one- when my normal prosthesis got a small hole in it she got me a new one, then asked for the damaged one so that they could return it for a refund.
I have now got mine and am just getting used to the "proceedure" ! Thing is, my BCN gave me size 5 (only size in the cupboard!) which is the next one up from my usual size 4, so now I've got to go and get some 36B bras(currently 36A).
I normally wear mastectomy pocketed bras - do these contacts mean you can wear "normal" bras? If so, what type are best, to make sure the contact is covered? I am quite excited about the possibility of being able to buy a "normal" bra again!! It has been a very long time since I've had one of those!!
I've only had mine on trial for a week and guess what - it has BURST!
Silicone was oozing out of it so I have repaired it with Elastoplast - don't know whether that was the right thing to do or not.
Hi Ladies, i got my contact week or so ago just went to see bc nurse and came out with one was so excited went and 4 bought bras of the peg, none would fit me. but i am so pleased with the way it fits i dont even no i am wearing it, got bra from m&s with fuller cup and its great.
I just hope all you others get the comfort the same as me its wonderful,xxx Ange
I'm small breasted (A cup) so am really hoping the contact form will suit me!
I'm ok with the normal prosthesis and feel confident and symmetrical but this heat and my 'tropical moments' are causing me to almost pass out because of wearing the 'furry-lined mastectomy bra' that is so comfy but quite unbearable in this heat because it's all man-made fibre!
Got an appointment with my BCN for a three month trial.Really crossing everything that it will suit me. My chest wall isn't that flat and never will be so am wondering how that might affect it???
Thanks for all the info so far and will keep you posted as to my progress...
Well I wore it today but the top part kept coming loose when I leant forward.
Also it's incredibly heavy compared to the ordinary one and the bra feels too tight now.
Why the h*** is it so hard to get a sports bra in sizes above 40?
thanks a lot for that, I'm 38D so it might still be worth me giving it a go...hope you find one that works for you, cheers Nicola
Hi Moorcow, i am size 42D, and the breastform itself is so so heavy and comes away from my skin and i find myself trying to manouver it all the time its embarrassing. Good luck
HI cartony2002 - may I ask what size you are? I Don't want to get all excitied if its not going to work for me....Nicola
I was so excited to get this boob. But when I went to collect it I was told by bc nurse not the sales girl who persuaded me to have it, that it's not suitable for people having chemo and definatly not for rads as the scar can be sore. Disappointed but for the best, nurse said can try one when treatment finished. So something to look forward to.
I've got one of these as well as my standard breast form. I got it on the NHS in addition to the forms I already had so no scrimping by them! I find it drags on my skin and can be uncomfortable however I do find the area of and around my scar is more sensitive than it ever used to be, possibly due to rads.
I have the Ameona stick on and its a waste of time. I think if my breast was smaller it might be ok but its so heavy it just comes away from the skin.
Hi all I had a MX back in sept only waited 3 months before i could wear my stick on prosthesis. It great i play squash for a ladies team also go to the gym 2/3 nights a week my only problem is i could do with another to change it with when you sweat a lot it needs a good scrub before you can wear it again, it a bit of hassel taking all the stuff down when i am getting showered.Might treat myself to another or drop a hint for mothers day. Try it you will never look back.
Hi all, I can't tell you how excited i am too- as a result of this thread, I have got an appt booked with BCN to look at these breast forms- I can't wait!
I have lymphodema and back/neck ache since using pocketed forms - I never really considered these - thought they were only for special occasions and not available through the nhs. YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!
thank you enid, for starting this thread, and to all you ladies who have given comments too.
Can't wait! How sad, what excites me nowadays!!!!
Hi all, another great advantage of the contact prosthesis is that it stops your bra straps digging into your shoulder - which is a huge ++ for me. Before I had this my arm ached terribly, now, rarely. I also sometimes leave it on overnight (I know you're not supposed to but it can be a great advantage if staying away from home overnight)! I've been wearing it for over 2 years now and it really annoys me if i have to "revert" for any reason.