Shopping for a swimsuit can bring even the most confident woman to tears, so just imagine how that experience is magnified when shopping for swimsuits after breast cancer. No matter what your body type, shopping for a bathing suits after cancer can seem daunting. Your body has changed and you might not be sure where to start. In this post I am sharing my tips learned over the last 6 years since my diagnosis how to shop for swimsuits after breast cancer.
Tips for Selecting Swimsuits After Breast Cancer
- Avoid underwire and hard formed cups
- Select based on fabric and design
- Look for styles with lining or built in pads if you want to cover scars or use a breast form.
- Patterns, ruffles and details help camouflage lopsidedness, bumps and protruding scar
- High neck swimsuits are great during the expander phase or in between reconstruction surgeries
- Many regular swimsuits can be "modified" to work for a mastectomy
Now let's dive into the details and information for each swimsuit shopping tip. Hopefully by the end you will feel confident selecting a swimsuit after breast cancer.
Favorite Swimsuits After Breast Cancer
1. Avoid underwire and hard formed cups
After breast cancer surgeries and radiation your skin will be more sensitive, and your chest and/or reconstructed breasts will not fit into hard formed cups. This was the most frustrated part for when shopping for swimsuits after breast cancer. My old collection was filled with underwire bikinis and my foobs just wouldn't fit. In my case my surgeon recommended I stay away from underwire as it could cause damage to my skin due to a lack of sensitivity in that area. Check with your doctor to see what's best for you.
2. Select swimsuits after breast cancer based on fabric and design
As mentioned above your skin after treatment and multiple surgeries may have changes. In my case my skin is still more tender and sensitive even 6 years later so I focus on soft fabrics, minimal seams and foob friendly design. This has allowed me to shop in more mainstream stores and save money on swimsuits after breast cancer instead of always buying products marketed as "mastectomy friendly".
3. Look for swimsuit styles with lining or built in pads
When shopping for swimsuits after breast cancer, think about the lining and fabric thickness. For those who have breast reconstructed or chose to keep your nipples you may find while you don't need the support of a bra top, you do want a level of smoothing and In my case, my scar lines show through my clothes so I like swimsuits that have a thin lining or pad to smooth out the indention. As I will talk about in a later point, the lining sometimes includes a pocket which can be used for breast forms if you use one.
4. Swimsuits with patterns, ruffles and details help camouflage lopsidedness, bumps and protruding scars
When shopping for swimsuits after breast cancer you may have lumps, bumps, unevenness or scars you want to disguise. As I tried different swimsuit styles after surgery and reconstruction, I found that the patterns and ruffles did a great job distracting from areas I wanted to hide and helping me accent areas I was confident in. I loved being able to throw on a swimsuit and not have anyone know I was going through the expansion process or was using a prosthetic breast.
5. High neck swimsuits are great during the expander phase & for those who go flat
If you choose to go glad or want more coverage on the chest area during reconstruction, high neck swimsuits are a great option. I fell in love with this La Blanca swimsuit years ago and still recommend the style to this day. It took me through a summer of expansions and no one else knew a thing. Shopping for swimsuits after breast cancer especially during reconstruction phases can be tough but there are so many cute swimsuits that will help you feel confident.
6. Many regular swimsuits can be "modified" to work for your body after breast cancer
For the longest time I felt limited looking for swimsuits after breast cancer, because I was only looking for "mastectomy" marketed swimwear. After many failed searches, I realized that many of the mainstream swimsuits available meet the criteria above, you just have to do your research. Instead of limiting yourself to surgery specific swimwear, focus on the elements above and shop with your personal style in mind.
Swimsuits After Breast Cancer & Breast Forms
Have a prosthetic? Don't worry! In addition to the pocketed swimwear I found, your local tailor can make ANY swimsuit into a prosthetic friendly suit. All you have to do is take in your favorite suit and they can add a pocket for the prosthesis. If the suit already has a lining or pads it'll be even easier.
For reference my implants are Natrelle Inspira 750CC under the muscle and I had two rounds of fat grafting.
I have rounded up all of my favorite swimsuits for after breast cancer that are available this season. I tried to include a range in styles and pricing. Keep in mind that investing in swimwear may be pricey but some of the La Blanca suits I am love have lasted me over four years and are still in amazing shape vs. the $20 ones from Amazon only last a season.
Reconstruction/Implant Friendly Swimsuits
Expander/Reconstruction Friendly Swimsuits
Breast Form Friendly/Pocketed Swimsuits
Flat Friendly Swimsuits
For more in-depth insight and tips check out my previous swimsuit posts and this amazing swim article with tips from my friend and survivor Melissa.
- Breast Cancer Thrivers Guide to Swimwear (last year)
- 8 Tips for Body Acceptance after Breast Cancer
- Think Pink Mommy & Me Swim
I know this can be an emotional and frustrating process and I am here to help! Reach out if you have specific questions or are looking for something you can't find in these swimwear posts.
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Breast cancer survivor, lover of style, beauty and all things pink! Inspiring you to thrive through adversity.