Ever had a bra that irritated your skin? Or one that pinched you underneath your arms? Maybe you are more sensitive to seams, hardware, and fabrics.
Now imagine how difficult it is for those who have been through breast cancer treatments. They not only have painful surgical sites (with or without reconstruction) but must face additional procedures that further inflame the skin---like chemo and radiation. Patients should have undergarments that don't make matters worse. Yet there's not much on the market beyond utilitarian, often bulky post-surgical bras.
One brand making a difference in this area is Ana Ono. Their founder, Dana Donofree, is a former breast cancer patient and is passionate about providing women with better lingerie alternatives. She partnered with Dr. Katie Deming, a radiation oncologist, to create the new---and truly revolutionary---MAKEMERRY Collection. This line is a first of its kind, engineered to aid women in their recovery.
Women can benefit from specially designed apparel long past completion of breast cancer treatments. Dana shared with me an email that underscores the importance of these garments:
Another issue that a percentage of breast cancer patients are left with is called Post Breast Therapy Pain Syndrome, PBTPS. It is nerve damage caused by surgery, chemo and radiation. Existing pain treatments/meds often do not seem overly effective for this type of nerve pain which leaves women in chronic pain which can range from burning, tightening or stabbing sensations. It can seriously effect all aspects of one's life. And, of course, all bras seem to increase the pain sensations even when worn for short periods. I'm wondering if anyone has considered trying to work with these women and find a comfortable solution for them since this condition often lasts their lifetime. Often women have to wear loose, oversize, cotton tees inside out; in order to cover their chests. Often women do not attempt reconstruction due to apprehension of yet more nerve damage from surgery.
Dana is one of those women. "The pain point is "REAL" and skin sensitivity and scar tissue is just a part of the aftermath of surgeries and treatment, I am so happy to have this piece in the collection because this is not the first email I have received with these additional issues!"
The MAKEMERRY Collection consists of three pieces: a wireless pocketed plunge bra; full coverage pocketed bra (available later this summer), and a smartly designed pocketed camisole. All garments are seamless and made of environmentally friendly and soothing Lending Modal. It helps to alleviate the pain and other issues related to radiation treatments. Deeper-cut underarms reduce unnecessary rubbing. The camisole's patented design features an outer pocketed shelf bra that supports without putting added pressure on the chest area. The plunge style best fits A to C Cups, in sizes XS to XL. The Camisole is made to fit A to D cups, from S-XX. The full coverage bra will fit C-DD cups, in M to XX.
Although created for breast cancer patients, the bras and camisole would be perfect for anyone with skin sensitivities, immune disorders, or similar issues. The pieces are well-made, stylish, and super comfortable.
Here's a look at the first two styles in the MAKEMERRY Collection:
Back of Bra w/adjustable straps
Camisole Exterior Shelf Bra
Regular Back Straps
Criss-Cross Back Straps
What do you think of the new MAKEMERRY Collection? Would you like to see more doctors and lingerie designers collaborate in this way?
All images Tracy Birdsell Photography