Proper Prosthesis Gives Lift to Breast Cancer Patients

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Women battling breast cancer deal with a lot of physical and emotional upheaval. Treatment can dramatically change a woman's appearance.. if a breast or part of a breast has to be removed.

Losing a breast to cancer can make many women lose self esteem. Proper prosthetics can help get it back.

Cathy Conlin, RN, with Topeka's Jayhawk Pharmacy and Patient Supply, says a woman needs to have the same silhouette as she did before surgery, so, when in her clothes, she looks just as great as she did before surgery.

Conlin and the Jayhawk staff have teamed up with the Cotton-O'Neil Cancer Center to do breast prosthesis and foundation fittings. Much like when a woman buys a dress, actually trying it on is the best way to know if a prosthesis is a good fit.

Some prosthetics actually stick to the skin, while others fit in a bra pocket. Conlin and her other certified mastectomy fitters will review a woman's lifestyle - things like her regular activities and the clothing she wears - to come up with a style and look that fits. She says, if both breasts have been removed, a woman can choose however she wants to look. With a single mastectomy, fitters try to match exactly the same drape as the other breast. Even with a lumpectomy, Conlin says partial prosthetics are available.

Conlin says a proper prosthesis can make all the difference. She says it's gratifying to see a woman smile and realize she doesn't have to wear the baggy sweatshirt she's been wearing.

"That's what it's all about - making women feel good again," she said.

The fittings are available the first Thursday of each month at the Cotton-O'Neil Cancer Center, 1414 SW 8th St., Topeka. Call Barb at (785) 270-4902 for an appointment. For appointments at other times, contact Cathy Conlin at Jayhawk Pharmacy, (785) 228-9700.