New Products and Choices Help Women Reshape Their Lives and Bodies After Breast Cancer
- Created on May 24th, 2009
- By Journey to Wellness
It’s estimated that 1 in 8 women – about 12 percent of the U.S. population – will get breast cancer in their lifetime. The statistics for African American women, while not as high, are almost more troubling: While the incidence of cancer is lower in African American women, death rates are higher.
As the nation works to improve coverage and access, thousands of African American women who have had breast cancer surgery need help now answering a range of questions such as:
- How to regain self-confidence and restore feelings of femininity?
- How to choose the right post-surgical options?
- How to navigate the sometimes confusing world of health insurance coverage?
Reclaiming Self-Confidence and Femininity
Although tremendous strides continue to improve survival rates, women remain largely unaware of options now available to restore a positive body image after breast surgery. What’s more, engaging in a dialogue with a physician can be uncomfortable simply because the patient’s personal goals and expectations don’t always correspond with the physician’s focus on clinical outcomes. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology noted that doctors and patients need to do a better job discussing all post-surgery options because leaving patient expectations unaddressed may negatively impact a woman’s quality of life.
Women will find their choices and needs changing over the weeks, months and even years following their breast surgery as their bodies change. Therefore, the decision about how to proceed after surgery should not be hurried. Reconstruction is an excellent option for many women. However, many women prefer not to have additional surgeries. Still others may have concerns about infections or implant leaks that lead them to explore options besides reconstruction.
Know That There Are Alternatives and Choices
The good news is the post breast surgery marketplace is evolving to meet the changing needs of women by providing a wide array of products that pay greater attention to engineering, comfort, style and healing.
Today, women can determine which products are right for their personal needs and lifestyles, whether they are seeking to regain their sense of femininity, run a marathon, or take up yoga. They have choices between symmetry shapers (which work well for women with lumpectomies or radiation therapy) and breast forms that adhere to the body or fit securely into the pocket of specially constructed bras.
A variety of factors should be considered when choosing a breast form including its weight, comfort, breathability, ease of movement, and durability. The choices available don’t end with the type of breast forms. Top manufactures also provide intimate apparel, swimwear, sports bras and post operative products and accessories.
The Importance of Fit Specialists
Finding the right bra fit specialist is equally important. The best post breast surgery manufacturers train fit specialists to measure patients with care and recommend appropriate breast forms and apparel for each unique situation. These specialists help women work through concerns while addressing individual lifestyles, goals and self image. Often, along the way, lifelong friendships are created as patients return year after year for adjustments. Fit specialists work with women in retail stores, specialized boutiques, hospitals, specialty clinics and breast centers to find just the right breast form for their needs.
Navigating the World of Insurance
A growing number of insurance programs cover bras and breast prostheses. The majority of policies use guidelines similar to Medicare. Specific coverage varies from policy to policy and can be extended or customized; however, such considerations must be documented and approved by a physician.
Breast forms should be purchased through an accredited retailer or Medicare provider. Retailers may request payment in full, and then bill the insurance provider, who will in turn reimburse the patient. Some retailers will bill insurance directly, typically with co-payment.
Help for the Journey
Women need help and support through every phase of their journey following breast surgery. Today there are a range of products, services and people that can help provide the care, connections and information women need for their path to recovery. For more information, please visit: