Choosing the Best Bra After Lumpectomy and Radiation

comfortable bras after surgery

Choosing the Best Bra After Lumpectomy and Radiation

A bra highlights a woman’s uniqueness. It offers styles that work best for different breast shapes, body types, and conditions. Finding a comfortable bra that fits and provides proper support is quite a journey for most women, particularly those diagnosed with cancer.

So how do you choose the right bra?

This guide is aimed at cancer patients looking for the right bra, particularly after a surgical procedure. By the end of the article, you will learn whether a post-surgery bra is necessary, and if there’s special underwear made especially for women who have recently undergone surgical procedures.

We also provide information on measuring your bra size accurately and the required adjustments to ensure comfort. Finally, we’ll look at how a wrong bra size can cause minor inconveniences and even health problems.

Let’s get started.

How to Choose the Right Bra for Cancer Patients

Cancer pains can be debilitating. In fact, sometimes, a person with cancer can develop a second cancer, completely different from the first.

Although it’s a rare occurrence, radiation procedures used to shrink breast tumors have been found to cause mesothelioma. This is a type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. The stage of mesothelioma determines how far the cancer has spread. For this reason, it’s important to check with your doctor regularly, especially if you’ve been exposed to asbestos or radiation.

For cancer patients, comfort is everything. Having a comfortable bra makes your recovery easier. Read on for recommendations of the best bras for cancer patients.

Choosing the Right Bra for Cancer Patients

There’s no industry standard for cup size measurement. Therefore, finding the right-fitting bra can be difficult for many women. Cancer patients, particularly those who have recently undergone surgical procedures, also need something that is comfortable and supportive.

Here are some tips for choosing the right bra that fits comfortably:

1. Get a professional bra fitting 

A study found that 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. Since many women have no idea how wearing a well-fitting bra feels, it’s better to get a professional bra fitting at a department store.

2. Choose bras with wide straps

Bra straps that dig into your shoulders can cause irritation and back pain. Women who have had their lymph nodes removed should find wide-strap bras to ensure that they won’t increase their risk of lymphedema, a buildup of lymph fluid in the body that causes swelling.

Check our recommendations of the best wide strap bras on the market.

3. Avoid wearing an underwired bra

Avoid wearing an underwired bra, especially if you have recently undergone a surgical procedure. Underwire bras can dig into your flesh, making the recovery process longer. Instead of underwired bras, go for wireless options. Here are some of the best wireless bras on the market.

If you have had breast surgery, recovering from such a procedure may take up to a year. You may experience treatment-related changes, like a change in the weight of your breasts. Swelling is also a potential post-surgery l effect. Therefore, when wearing a bra, start with the loosest hook and gradually tighten the hooks as the swelling goes down.

4. Choose the right fabric

Choose a bra whose major fabric is cotton. Bras made of cotton are gentler on your skin. As a result, they’ll help you stay cool, especially if you’re experiencing hot flashes. Here are some of the best cotton bras you can buy.

A common side effect of some types of cancer treatment is skin rash. This usually develops within a few weeks following treatment. The skin irritation can appear on the chest, neck, upper back, scalp, and face.

Skin rash can be itchy and painful. Therefore, if you develop rashes after cancer treatment, wearing comfortable undergarments can help. Cotton is a recommended fabric for individuals with atopic dermatitis symptoms, which include rashes and itchiness.

Do Cancer Patients Need to Wear a Post-surgery Bra?

Radiotherapy and breast surgery can make the chest area sensitive. However, wearing a specific post-surgery bra isn’t necessary unless your doctor advises wearing one.

Mastectomy bras are usually recommended after breast surgery. You can buy them from specialist suppliers or high-street shops.

Warner's Easy Does Bra It No Bulge Wire-Free Bra
Warner’s Easy Does Bra It No Bulge Wire-Free Bra Mastectomy Bra


How to Accurately Measure Bra Size for Cancer Patients

Women who have undergone breast cancer surgery may want more specialized help finding suitable bras.

According to one survey, women with breast cancer and surgical treatment lacked guidance in finding the right bra. About 50% of the respondents said that their doctors didn’t give a prescription. Ninety percent reported that they didn’t get a fabric-type recommendation, while 57% said that they didn’t get any advice about buying an undergarment.

Several specialist lingerie shops and department stores employ experienced bra fitters who use a tape measure to determine your exact bra size. These experts have specialist training in helping women like you. If there is no specialist lingerie shop in your are, you can measure your bra size using a tape measure at home.

Can a Wrong Bra Size Cause Minor Health Problems?

There is no evidence showing that incorrect bra size can cause major health problems. Still, wearing ill-fitting bras has consequences.

According to one study, ill-fitting bras and insufficient breast support may cause musculoskeletal pain and inhibit women engaged in physical activity.

Moreover, ill-fitting bras have been found to contribute to several upper quadrant pains in women seeking treatment from sports medicine practitioners. Some women also complain about neck pain and deep bra furrows attributed to excessive bra strap pressure.

These studies are inconclusive, so further research is needed.

A right-fitting bra can make you feel and look better. Our mission is to help you find best bra for you. Get in touch with us for advice on bra fitting


  • What is a Second Cancer?

  • Malignant pleural mesothelioma after radiation therapy for breast cancer. A report of two additional patients

  • Breast size, bra fit and thoracic pain in young women: a correlational study

  • Bra Buying Tips Every Breast Cancer Patient Should Know!

  • Bras after surgery for breast cancer

  • Skin Rash

  • The Future of Functional Clothing for an Improved Skin and Textile Microbiome Relationship

  • Temporary breast prostheses and post-surgery bras

  • Why wear a bra?

  • Undergarment Needs After Breast Cancer Surgery: A Key Survivorship Consideration

  • Optimising breast support in female patients through correct bra fit. A cross-sectional study

  • How do respiratory state and measurement method affect bra size calculations?



Jeanette is a certified professional bra fitter. Originally from Lyons, France, Jeanette moved to Houston, TX to head the Brabbly content team. When not talking about bras and underthings, she's usually tucked in her study writing a sci-fi novel.

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