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Post-Breast Bathing Suits
Article below is the courtesy of

There's nothing like a cool swim on a hot day to relax your mind and refresh your spirit. Swimming—any time of the year—is a terrific way to get moderate exercise and strengthen your body before, during, and after breast cancer treatment. Just check with your doctor before jumping in.

Before you start thinking about bathing suits, remember this comforting thought: 9 out of 10 women are TOTALLY SELF-CONSCIOUS in a bathing suit, whether they've been through breast cancer treatment or not. Still, we put up with them because they're part of the summer package that also includes swimming, a warm, relaxing environment, and outdoor fun.

If you look up and down the beach or around the poolside, you'll see all kinds of bodies: small, medium, large, extra-large. They're all OK. Perfection doesn't exist. So don't waste your precious energy on self-criticism. Instead, use it for pleasant and interesting thoughts, fun, and sharing with friends and family. And get yourself a bathing suit that will be most comfortable for you.

Several bathing suit brands are designed for women who have had breast cancer surgery (mastectomy or lumpectomy). These suits have higher necklines and armholes, to conceal scars. They also have built-in bra pockets for securing breast forms (prostheses).

Some suits have other features, such as figure-smoothing panels and skirts, that are popular with many women whether or not they've had breast surgery.

And, yes, experts agree that dark solid colors are the most flattering.
At a Glance
Bathing Suit Brands and Prices
When you shop for a bathing suit, look for these labels with mastectomy designs:
  • Amoena
  • It Figures
  • Jodee
  • Miraclesuit
  • T.H.E. Swimwear

Most of these brands retail for $70 to $100 in stores and online.

Paying for Swim Forms
Swim forms made by Amoena retail for $94 each. They must be correctly fitted, just like regular breast prostheses. The ultralight forms sell for about $300 each. Health insurance often reimburses for swim forms as prosthetic devices. Bring your insurance card and doctor's prescription to your fitting, Shafer advises

You may not need a specially designed bathing suit. If you find standard swimwear that covers you as well as you'd like, the retailer might be able to add a breast form bra pocket to the inside of the suit. Some stores charge for that service; others don't.

"We can sew a pocket into any suit we sell at no charge," says Rose Tabile, women's active wear manager at Nordstrom's department store in King of Prussia, PA. The store also carries Amoena and It Figures suits with built-in pockets.

Many women like the comfort of swim forms, which are like conventional breast forms but much lighter. Although weighted forms are good for everyday use—to maintain balance and protect against back and neck pain—they may be uncomfortable or just downright heavy when swimming. Both swim forms and weighted forms will fit in a bra pocket.

Swim forms are less dense and float better ("but they're no substitute for a life jacket," says one of Dr. Weiss's patients). Made from clear silicone, they're designed to allow water to flow naturally across the chest. Some attach into the bathing suit with fabric tabs, to prevent unexpected "pop-up" moments. Built-in pockets also hold them in successfully.

A new ultralight swim form, made from whipped silicone, is practically weightless. It attaches directly to the chest wall with adhesive for a more natural line. "There's no gap when you lean over," says Cynthia Shafer, Nordstrom lingerie manager.

Chlorinated water, saltwater, heat, and sunlight won't damage silicone breast forms. They should be washed by hand and kept dry between uses.