By MARY WARD
One in nine women will develop breast cancer by the age of 85.
In Australia, 34% of those women will have a mastectomy during the course of their treatment. That’s over 3% of the Australian female population. In the US, the figure is much higher, closer to 6%.
This is a significant segment of the population. The strong and inspiring group of women who have beaten breast cancer, more likely than not, contains someone you know. Your mum, you sister, your aunt, your grandma, yourself: this is a group of women who have faced months of gruelling treatment and managed to come out the other end.
So, why can’t these warriors buy pretty bras?
It’s not a trivial question. The reality of a life post-mastectomy is that the sexy and stylish lingerie survivors once enjoyed by these women have to be replaced by specialist garments which leave a lot to be desired in the aesthetics department. Lingerie companies pride themselves on developing the confidence of women; why can’t breast cancer survivors be afforded that same experience?
Well, if one American mother-daughter duo has their way, they will be.
Meet Allana Maiden and her mum, Debbie Barrett. Debbie is 21 years cancer free, and an inspiration to her daughter.
After all that her mum had been through, Allana hated her mum struggle to buy – and afford to buy – specialist bras for her post-masectomy body.
So, at the start of this year, she did what any good Gen Y gal would do; she made a Change.org petition asking US lingerie giant, Victoria’s Secret, to make a survivors’ bra, for women who have had a mastectomy.