A breast cancer diagnosis brings with it complex and tough decisions; often at crucial and highly emotional moments when all you want to do is hide under the duvet forever...but instead you've got major choices with lifelong and deeply emotive implications on your hands. One of the most contentious is whether to have breast reconstruction.
While there are many options available for breast cancer thrivers today which we're thankful for, we know from personal experience and from speaking with the community, that preconceptions and excessive caution can start to interfere as soon as the 'going flat' conversation arises. There is a reluctance with many medical professionals to accept this choice as a valid, well thought through option, with concerns regarding the definition of femininity and future regrets often arising.
Going flat, or choosing aesthetic flat closure, is the decision to remove one or both breasts rather than having breast reconstruction. It is an option for anyone considering a mastectomy due to a breast cancer diagnosis and yet, for many doctors it's a reluctantly offered option.
And yet, flat aesthetic closure is hugely positive for many women for many reasons. It offers:
the shortest possible surgery
the fastest recovery time
generally, only one surgery is needed
the opportunity to return to family, work, or other activities as soon as possible with minimal downtime
the lowest risk of infection or other surgical complications
no need for implants
no muscle or other tissue transferred from other parts of the body (flap surgery)
scars limited to the chest (since it doesn’t involve flap surgery)
According to a recent study, nearly 75% of women who opted for no breast reconstruction after mastectomy were satisfied with the results, but interestingly the lack of, or ambivalent surgeon support for the decision to go flat was a repeated factor in patient dissatisfaction. The noted conclusion was that 'Surgeons may optimise patient experience by recognising and supporting a patient’s decision to go flat.'
The good news is, we believe things are changing...charged along by a growing community of women called “The Flat Movement” – women who choose not to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, but instead decide to “go flat.” There are websites, blogs, countless social media groups and beautiful imagery that raise awareness, represent this choice in an uplifting, hugely positive way, and offer support for women with breast cancer who are considering this option.
For us the most important lesson in this is self advocacy, a healthy self-image and crucially, no requirement of validation in your decision-making for your long term health. Understanding that you and you alone are entitled to determine what is right for you and then, to make yourself heard as your own strongest advocate.
So what's the point of wearing a bra if you're flat?
AnaOno | Delilah Soft Cup Bra
Ideal for everyday use, this underwire free, super-soft modal bra offers a customisable fit that’s perfect for wearing after all forms of breast surgery. And should you wish... the pocketed design offers the option to wear a breast form.
This pullover bra for breast cancer survivors and thrivers includes lovely feminine touches, including ultra-plush Super Soft® lace trim and a breathable lace back panel.
Available to purchase on site here.
Royce | Blossom Bra | Black & White Polka Dot
The Blossom bra from Royce is pure comfort with a touch of innovation.
Featuring a lovely vintage-inspired cream-on-black polka dot print, the Blossom bra features clever ruched detail at the centre front that can be adjusted to be worn either as a crop top or ruched down as a plunge neckline. Available in a triple cup size up to H cup for comfort and support. Available to purchase on our website here.
AnaOno | Susan Wrap Front Lace Bra
A classic style with a modern twist, AnaOno's Wrap-Front Wire-Free bra features lovely feminine details plus the V-neck style of the wrap front looks lovely on any shape, no matter your breast surgery.
Pocketed to accommodate lightweight breast forms, underwire free and made with super soft eco-friendly modal it's a beautiful and comfortable option.
You can find it on our website here.
If you're considering going flat, we recommend these organisations, all of which support and empower women and are a great source of information.
and as always, we are always here to gladly offer support, advice and guidance.
Cover Image courtesy of Gabriel Aguirre on Unsplash