radioactive bra?
July 14, 2012 2:41 PM   Subscribe

I accompanied my mom today as she went shopping for bras to wear as she goes thru radiation they HAVE to be completely 100percent cotton? Any mefites out there had followup radiation after breast cancer surgery and have suggestions?

The good news is they got all the cancer out after a lumpectomy and the lymph node is clear. Now all she has to do is do a five week course of radiation to prevent any further unpleasantness.

She had been told to get 100 percent cotton with no metal. Whether they told her sports bra or she assumed that I don't know but that is what we looked for. All we found was 95 percent with a bit of synthetic. She went ahead and purchased she overthinking these pink ribbon beans or is there actually some magical underpinning out there that meets the criteria better? Also, any additional tips or tricks for making these next five weeks as troublefree as possible is much appreciated.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
95% cotton is fine- just so long as it is breathable and doesn't rub too tightly against her skin. And to be honest, there's only so much you can prepare for. You'll learn more about your mom's skin and comfort needs as she goes through the process, so it's probably best to buy only a couple of bras now and wait to see how they work out. When I went through radiation, my skin hardly burnt at all, but other people have very different experiences, and so a wait and see approach is probably best.
posted by pickypicky at 2:47 PM on July 14, 2012

I suspect what they mean by sports bra is that they are the ones you pull over your head rather than having metal hooks at the back or front.
posted by infini at 3:05 PM on July 14, 2012

There is no magical underpinning. A great alternative is a camisole with a built-in shelf bra if she needs the support, like this one. I spent all my time in this very item, with a shirt or cardigan on top. And just a side note, I underwent 17 weeks of radiation and I had only the slightest sunburn-y skin, and no other side effects. Honestly, I found it to be more of an inconvenience than anything.

Sending great good thoughts her way, from a sistah!
posted by thinkpiece at 3:11 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've recommended Decent Exposures bras here before. They are awesome and are experts at special situation bra needs. You can get it completely tailored to what is most comfortable. If the ones you already got don't end up working, check Decent Exposures out!

Sorry your mom is going through this. You're both in my thoughts.
posted by pupstocks at 4:17 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

This question fascinated me because I wondered about radiation and fabrics, actually, so I did some some google searching.

There don't seem to be specific garments made for this treatment, but the 100% cotton seems to be a comment recommendation. One search took me to a forum at Susan G. Komen site which, in summary, noted that the inking they'll do for targeting will ruin your bra, the goal is to to have a bra that's irritant-free (watch for seams, stitching, etc. that's in contact with your skin) and comfortable (your skin may be burned and, after heavy exposure or numerous exposures, breaking down) to wear, remove, and put on. If one can do so, doing without a bra and sticking with a clean cotton shirt could be the way to go.

Anyway, I suggest you read into the thread-- it's full of people who have had radiation therapy.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:52 PM on July 14, 2012

Yeah the big deal for my mom was that your skin may be pretty seriously sunburnt/sore and/or blistery and peely and irritated. And you may or may not feel like you have the range of motion to manage dealing with clasping a bra. So, if your mom doesn't need the support, I'd suggest something more like a soft white cotton undershirt. Otherwise I'd suggest a camisole with a shelf bra. You might also look into bras that clasp in the front depending on how invasive the lumpectomy was. My mom found that for a while she had a hard time getting/staying comfortable and found it useful to have a few odd-shaped [and also super soft] pillows around so that she could lie down without jostling her skin too much and with her breast supported. There's a lot of trial and error and you're already in sort of a surly mood, so in addition to making sure she has a lot of her favorite skin cream and something very soft to wash up with, just being helpful and supportive is a big part of it. I am glad the news has been good.
posted by jessamyn at 5:57 PM on July 14, 2012

What about something like this 100% cotton sleeping bra?
posted by Houstonian at 5:59 PM on July 14, 2012

Soft sleep bras and 99% aloe vera gel. (14 years here.)
posted by lois1950 at 8:20 PM on July 14, 2012

Thanks everyone! I guess -don't laugh -I was thinking that the synthetic fabrics would react with the radiation or something. Glad to know the main goal here is comfort!

I think what she bought yesterday will fill the bill as far as comfort goes. We will reevaluate if it turns out to be necessary. Sunburnt, thanks for the link-I will definitely be making use of it.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:49 AM on July 15, 2012

Oh, and I marked a couple as best answer but really you have all been very helpful.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:50 AM on July 15, 2012

Just to update-Mom went through her treatments with flying colors and is cancer free and doing just fine.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2013

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