Because chemotherapy has been a reliable and effective cancer treatment for decades, it is typically one of the first things people think of when they hear about cancer. Chemo is one of the possible treatment plans for breast cancer because of its ability to shrink cancer cells, allowing for the removal of tumors, or ensuring no cancer cells remain in the body after surgery.
You’re probably wondering about the process if you’re on a chemotherapy treatment plan. While a difficult road lies ahead, there are ways you can create as comfortable an environment for yourself as possible. One way is by choosing the correct undergarments for your body. A comfortable, well-fitting undergarment can help you feel more comfortable during treatments, allow for better healing, or feel more like yourself.
What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is when drugs are used to target and destroy cancer cells. According to the American Cancer Society, the drugs are usually injected through an IV or taken as pills by mouth. If through an IV, it’s by injection or an infusion over a longer period in a hospital or doctor’s office.
The drugs travel through the bloodstream and target the cancer cells in most areas of the body. Chemotherapy is often used alongside other treatments like surgery, radiation, or hormone therapy. Unfortunately, it can cause side effects such as hair loss, nausea, anemia, and mood changes.
While not all breast cancer patients need chemotherapy, there are two main situations in which chemo is recommended for breast cancer patients.
After Surgery (Adjuvant)
Adjuvant chemo may be given to kill any cancer cells left behind after surgery or that have spread but cannot be seen. Adjuvant chemo can reduce the risk of cancer returning.
Bras for adjuvant chemo must be soft, breathable cotton to protect your surgical site. At the same time, you recover and provide features that can support breast prostheses and room for medical devices such as draining ports. The bra you choose also depends on your surgery and if you wish to have a breast prosthesis.
The Amoena Theraport Post-Surgery is great for adjuvant chemo treatments because of its cutouts for ports or drainage bags and its comfort for healing scars.
Before Surgery (Neoadjuvant)
Neoadjuvant chemo may be given to shrink the tumor if it is too large to be removed by surgery when first diagnosed or to minimize the invasiveness of the surgery. This may enable the surgeon to remove only the tumor instead of the entire breast tissue.
Because of this, the undergarment you wear for neoadjuvant will differ from adjuvant chemo after surgery. You’ll want to choose a supportive bra that is also breathable and comfortable for the time you spend getting treatment at the hospital or while you recuperate at home.
The ABC Front Closure Seamless Bra is available in a variety of cup sizes and breathable spandex to provide comfort throughout your chemotherapy sessions.
Features to Look for in a Chemotherapy Bra
A well-designed chemotherapy bra should be a staple for anyone undergoing treatment. Changes in the body can leave many women feeling unsure of their bodies, and new treatment necessities can be complicated with traditional bras.
A great fitting chemotherapy bra can provide a sense of confidence as well as make a chemotherapy session just a little bit better. Here are some features to look for in a chemotherapy bra:
While receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, a chemo port is sometimes placed under the skin near a large vein in the upper chest as an alternative to an IV in the arm. If receiving chemotherapy in this way, a low neckline allows nurses easy access to the chest port and avoids you needing to get changed or have clothes rearranged uncomfortably.
Soft fabric on a bra is a must for comfort during the long hours spent receiving chemo and for those with fresh or healing scars from surgery. Soft fabric can reduce chafing or pinching that might irritate skin and cause unnecessary complications.
The front closure on a chemo bra has two purposes: it’s easy to put on and it has numerous access points. Reaching to button up in the front is easier for stiff and sore muscles and those who have undergone breast surgery and may be unable to move their arms comfortably to behind their back.
It’s also suitable for access to ports or exams that a doctor might perform. Adjusting just a few buttons or allowing you to keep most of your clothes on creates an easier experience while at the hospital.
Temperature Regulation Details
While receiving chemotherapy, you’ll experience side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Hot flashes and sweating can accompany these symptoms, so a bra with mesh panels and moisture-wicking fabrics can help you feel a little more comfortable or avoid the worst side effects.
Wide Padded Straps
It’s not news that wide bra straps on bras are more comfortable. But for chemotherapy bras, wide straps are essential to ensure no parts are digging in or creating tension in places that are already tender or during long chemo sessions.
Most Comfortable Bras to Wear During Chemo
Chemotherapy is a challenging and uncomfortable experience, both during and after treatment. Choose a bra with the necessary features and comfort options to make chemotherapy a little easier and more comfortable. Here are a few ideas for the best chemotherapy bras.
The Marena Caress Mastectomy Bra is designed for post-acute recovery after breast reduction and mastectomy procedures. It features detachable front-close straps for easy donning and clinical viewing and a 3-row hook-and-eye microfiber front closure for complete adjustability. It also has outward-facing seams to prevent suture disturbance and discomfort.
The FlexFit cups integrate two cup sizes into one bra to accommodate breast volume variation between different volumes of prostheses and tissue expanders. The TriFlex fabric is stretchy, moisture-wicking, cooling, and antimicrobial.
It also provides consistent compression while stretched to avoid binding and gives the proper comfort and support for long chemotherapy sessions.
The Anita Isra Mastectomy Bra is a post-surgical bra that smoothly molds to your skin. The fast-fastening button and velcro front closure are great for chemotherapy treatments, sleep, leisure, sports, and post-operative wear. It features soft edge bands to avoid chafing and prevent constriction around the underbust, armholes, and decollete.
The cups feature discreet, lightweight cotton pockets that are soft on the skin, while the back material provides comfortable stretchy fabric.
The Amoena Frances Bra is an ultra soft and comfortable bra immediately after breast surgery, for leisure, or even for sleep. It features five rows of hook-and-eye front fastening for easy wearing and adjustment.
The cut and sewn cups feature soft cotton pockets that can securely hold a breast form, shaper, or leisure form, while the wide straps increase in width to help support larger sizes. The deep neckline allows access to any ports or exams during chemotherapy treatments.
The Amoena Hanna Kit contains a Hanna bra, two 2106 Fiberfill Post-Surgical breast forms, and two 2107 repositionable drain pouches, making it perfect immediately after surgery or leisure.
The cut and sewn cups feature cotton pockets that hold a leisure form and are soft and comfortable for sensitive skin. Five rows of hook-and-eye front closures offer ease of adjustment and easy access during chemotherapy treatment, while the padded, stretchy fabric provides enhanced comfort and reduces chafing.
The ABC Leisure Bra is an excellent option for post-surgical wear or leisure. Its easy-on hook-and-eye front closure is adjustable and perfect for treatment and recovery. The soft cups have an average profile and feature spandex pockets that discreetly hold breast forms in place.
The fabric is a breathable cotton and spandex blend for a secure but comfortable fit that’s perfect for scars and healing skin or long chemotherapy sessions. The wide straps are non-adjustable but comfortable and provide plenty of support.
Get a Professional Fitting to Find the Perfect Chemo Bra
Wearing a bra designed for chemotherapy patients can make a difficult experience just a little better. At A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe, we provide professional in-person or virtual fitting services to help fit our customers with the most comfortable chemotherapy bra for their bodies.
We can also create custom breast prostheses and offer post-surgical garments and personal care chemo products to support your breast cancer recovery journey.
Contact us today at (954) 978-8287 with questions or to schedule a personalized fitting.