Bra for cancer patients 'should be used across NHS'

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A health worker who invented a post-surgery bra for breast cancer patients hopes to make the underwear available at NHS hospitals.

Nicole de Havilland, a manual lymphatic drainage specialist at the Harley Street Breast Clinic, used her experience helping women who have had mastectomies to design the RecoBra. 

It is seamless and breathable which, she says, is “crucial as patients have to wear one 24 hours a day for a six-week period after surgery to remove or reconstruct a breast”.  The bra is given out at the private King Edward VII Hospital to those who have had breast surgery. 

Ms de Havilland is now having meetings at NHS hospitals to try to have the bras included in their patients’ care.

She said that underwired bras cannot be worn for about three months after surgery and many patients also told her that seamed bras made incision sites bleed. She added: “In the end we settled on a design with flexible pleating instead of a moulded cup.”  

The bra has an antimicrobial coating and costs £44.99 if bought privately. Giles Davies, breast surgeon and consultant at King Edward VII, said the bra was “a medical device that should be in routine use throughout the NHS”.

An NHS England spokesman said: “Patients currently pay for recovery bras themselves. For the immediate post-operation period, they are advised on what bras they should purchase and the best price. Prosthesis services are offered for all patients who have had a mastectomy or even wide local excision if there is a significant volume loss.”


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