A Shock After Cancer
October 31, 2016 – Bonnie Annis
The Cancer Test Results Waiting Game
October 28, 2016 – Barbara Tako
Vitamin D's Role in Fighting Breast Cancer
October 27, 2016 – Bonnie Annis
Beyond October: What's Next for Breast Cancer Survivors?
October 27, 2016 – Khevin Barnes
Cancer Coping: The Question They Don't Want to Ask You
October 25, 2016 – Barbara Tako
Cancer Research Advocacy: Progress With a Side of Heartbreak
October 25, 2016 – Jamie Holloway, PhD
Peripheral Neuropathy Is More Than a Cancer Side Effect
October 24, 2016 – Martha Carlson
Role Reversal: Caring for a Sibling With Cancer
October 21, 2016 – Kim Johnson
Roadmap to Cancer: Advice for Caregivers for an Unmapped Journey
October 20, 2016 – Kim Johnson
Coping with Cancer's Side Effects
October 19, 2016 – Barbara Tako

National No Bra Day 2016: A Breast Cancer Survivor's Perspective

Not all breast cancer survivors support this social media campaign.
PUBLISHED October 12, 2016
Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many breast cancer survivors have come to know the month as the dreaded “Pinktober.” While pinking things up is meant to raise breast cancer awareness, it often sparks mixed feelings among those who’ve felt the effects of breast cancer. In conjunction with breast cancer awareness month, a campaign called “National No Bra Day,” began in 2011. This year’s No Bra Day is Thursday, Oct. 13. According to a news article, published by ABC7, “People are encouraged to ditch their lingerie to raise awareness about the disease, raise money for research, and to support survivors.” The social media campaign purports freeing the breasts as a fun way to bring awareness to the need for annual mammograms and testing to prevent breast cancer. But does it really? As a breast cancer survivor, I’d like to give my perspective.
 
When I was a young girl, I couldn’t wait to get my first bra. At the first sign of breast buds, my mother purchased a training bra for me. That lacy little slip of fabric made me feel feminine. As I developed, I graduated from a training bra into a real bra with cups. My breasts were prized possessions. They were not only ornamental, but functional. At 19, when I had my first child, my breasts provided nourishment. At 40, I had my first mammogram, a necessary preventative test. At 56, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had both breasts removed. Since I opted for no reconstruction, I was forced to wear a bra containing two silicone prostheses. These man-made breast forms gave me the semblance of womanhood. Without them, my chest looked pre-pubescently flat. Some days I choose to wear my prostheses and some days I don’t. When I need to “look normal” in public, I wear a bra and prostheses. When I am home or around loved ones, I go without these items. Prostheses are heavy and uncomfortable, but in order to “fit in” I need to wear them. And that’s why National No Bra day bothers me.
 
I don’t understand how taking off your brassiere for a day does anything to raise awareness for breast cancer. The only thing I think it really does is give men something to ogle over and give women something to giggle about. For those of us who’ve experienced major surgery to remove our breasts, bras have become a necessary evil. It’s difficult to wear prostheses without a bra, and socially unacceptable to be a flat-chested woman. Where does that leave us? I don’t want to seem overly sensitive to a fun-filled social media holiday, but I just don’t get it. What’s the point in going bra-less? And how are funds raised when you remove your lingerie?
 
So please excuse me if I don’t participate in this year’s festivities. I find it offensive that men and women flippantly consider such a silly way of raising awareness for breast cancer. If people really wanted to gain understanding and awareness, I propose we declare a “National Bare Chest Day” where men and women who’ve been through breast cancer could share their battle wounds by making their scars visible for all to see. Perhaps then more people would take breast cancer seriously and the National No Bra Day would become a thing of the past.  
Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Breast Cancer CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In