Swimwear and Swimming
As a group, many of us found that it can be quite daunting going swimming after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Whilst apprehension at first was a common feeling, after a couple of swims we became less self-conscious and more confident. Feedback from the group suggests, that with a good swimsuit, and either using a good prosthesis or adapting something, swimming does not have to be a problem. Some women prefer to swim without a prosthesis in the costume especially if the swimsuit is cupped and it may be a case of trying several things to see what feels most comfortable and what puts you at your ease.
The prostheses provided by Applegate are suitable for swimming provided you wash them well afterwards. The group have varying alternatives to these prostheses for swimming. For those of us that swim a lot, we invested in a prosthesis designed for water (these prostheses are also good for general exercise). Some of us use a softie, which we just wash and wring out after use. Some larger-busted ladies found a solution by making up a breast form from foam.
A mastectomy or lumpectomy can add a further degree of difficulty to finding a suitable swimsuit. However, there are now reasonable ranges of swimsuits and bikinis on the market, specifically designed to hold a prosthesis, softie or a shell, as well as having high necklines. Most of the suppliers of mastectomy swimwear are online, although some of us found that Nicola Jane and Amoena were probably the retailers with the best selection of designs and sizes. (See After Surgery – Fitting for bras and Prostheses)
Bear in mind that a specially designed mastectomy swimwear is not necessarily cheap, a good alternative is to have a normal swimsuit pocketed. For this the swimsuit needs a full cup in order that a pocket can be sewn onto it. Guidelines are that it is best to avoid swimwear with wires underneath for the first year after surgery.
For those of us that were looking for the first time for mastectomy swimwear, a visit to a suitable retailer is worthwhile. Also, some of us found it beneficial to telephone the retailer prior to the visit especially if looking for something in a small or large size. Problems with finding suitable swimwear were generally experienced by smaller or larger ladies, most found a solution, although it may take longer to find something suitable.
If you encountering problems please contact us, as one of the group may be able to suggest something to help.