The false breast: should we go for it so quickly?BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7063.1014a (Published 19 October 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1014
- Julie Friedeberger
- Julie Friedeberger is the author of A Visible Wound: a healing journey through breast cancer with practical and spiritual guidance for women, their partners and families, published by Element Books, price £7.99.
When a woman loses a breast through mastectomy there is pain, anger at what has happened, fear of what may happen in the future, and grief at losing a part of her body. She may be dismayed, even horrified, when she looks at her wound. She may feel lopsided, diminished, disfigured, and socially and sexually unacceptable. Dealing with these overwhelming emotions takes time. But most women attempt to allay them by immediately opting for a prosthesis or reconstructive surgery, and in this they are often encouraged by their doctors.
I was not offered reconstruction and did not consider it. I was fitted for a prosthesis within four days of my mastectomy in November 1993. I have never worn it because by the time that I had found the right bra to go with it three months later I had grown comfortable with my …