Avera Medical Minute: Custom prosthetic option for breast cancer patients

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 10:34 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Fighting cancer can be a long, exhausting journey that takes a toll on your body.

Breast cancer patients who’ve also undergone a mastectomy can be left with insecurities after that surgery.

An option offered at Avera is giving those survivors more confidence and a sense of themselves back.

When Nancy TerWee was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, she underwent a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, and then radiation.

When the cancer returned several years later, she opted for the surgery.

“I decided when I was diagnosed again that I wasted a double mastectomy, because I didn’t want to deal with this again,” she said.

Despite the surgery, she now has her confidence back thanks to custom prosthetic pieces made specifically for breast cancer patients.

“I cant even feel that I have it on,” she said. “It feels like a part of me.”

Jane Newman is a mastectomy fitter for Avera@Home Medical Equipment.

She helps take measurements and scans to get women set up for their new prostetic pieces that are worn inside a bra, fit to the chest wall.

“People really like it, because it feels like their natural self and its very gratifying to us that we have started doing this,” Newman said.

She says the pieces from American Breast Care are the gold standard for breast prosthetic pieces as they offer a personalized shape, natural appearance, and have a lightweight, cooling design.

Most importantly, she says they return a sense of confidence back to patients.

“I think its more for comfort, its more for feeling more like you did prior to your breast cancer or your surgery,” said Newman.

Nancy TerWee agrees.

“It really has done a lot for my self esteem. it feels natural and it looks more natural then it did before. For a woman, that’s really important. Its such a huge journey and the end of this journey is so much better than the way it started.”

More information can be found at www.Avera.org/MedicalMinute