The road to recovery for breast cancer thrivers can be full of hope, healing and reflection. It can also be filled with many decisions about the future. Now, with more options available such as going flat (forgoing reconstructive surgery following mastectomy), many women are choosing a new way forward.
Data and research are shedding light on the option to skip certain surgeries, while online groups have opened the door to social commentary and support for those seeking answers from pioneering women who’ve made the choice already. This deeply personal consideration is becoming more popular for the reasons listed below. Let’s explore the decision to go flat.
Making a Choice That Fits Our Future
Each and every one of us is unique, as is our own personal history, medical journey and recovery. Finding our way post-breast cancer surgery is not one-size-fits-all. Yet historically, the procedure for most patients after receiving partial or full mastectomy was the same. Doctors have commonly encouraged women to reconstruct their breasts with either implants or their own tissue, largely based on the original theory that it was necessary (and reported by most women) to ensure a positive outcome. However, in a more recent study, three out of four women actually opted for no reconstruction after mastectomy—and were happy to do so. In their decision to go flat, they cited reasons such as personal safety and health concerns such as recent FDA recalls linking breast implants to certain cancers. Others voiced concerns about the process itself, fearing it would include another lengthy recovery, newfound pain and discomfort and even new complications. In addition, for women who endured radiation therapy, the remaining breast tissue is simply too fragile to support an implant, and they have no other option. The choice to move forward without reconstructing our breasts is new and challenges both beauty standards and the status quo. Yet many women report feeling liberated and happy afterward. When we embrace our body—bravely, through all its changes—we open the door to new possibilities we may not have known were available before.
Finding Answers and Making Decisions
It’s no surprise that the decision to go flat comes with many questions. While more and more breast cancer thrivers are finding this decision to be the right path for them, there is little information available. It can also be a struggle to share the decision with loved ones. Thanks to online media forums, women are able to share their experience and expertise with others. Funny enough, it turns out that one of the trickiest steps of this whole decision process is convincing our medical team. Online support groups like BreastFree.org and NoPuttingOnAShirt offer advice for talking with doctors, surgeons and family members. (Join our Everviolet FaceBook group now and discuss your journey here!)
Choosing to Heal, First
Many women who have gone through breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and healing see reconstructive surgery as an important step on the road to physical and emotional recovery. Feeling “whole” again or regaining a sense of normalcy are fairly typical desires. Most medical professionals see breast reconstruction as an important part of the recovery process itself. However, with the rise of social media and more women redefining modern femininity, the decision to go flat is now being embraced as less radical. It’s also gaining momentum as an integral option in the healing process. However we choose to heal, whichever way feels right, is what matters most.
The new aesthetic of going flat is one that we, at Everviolet, embrace. Beautiful bodies, all shapes and sizes, will naturally shift and change with time. It has been said that the history of the world is written in tree rings. A fire, disease or injury is marked in its rings as a kind of chronological record depicting its journey. Perhaps, we too, record our struggles with our body’s scars. Each loss and hardship is a testament to what we’ve been through, though it doesn’t make us any ‘less than’. We are not diminished in spirit or character. Women are not any less feminine if they don’t have two breast mounds on their chest. Reconstruction, going flat or anything in between is personal to each soul on this planet. And wish each soul love and healing.
Our Best Picks for Going Flat
Our most gentle, front close bra offers light compression and delicate support. With optional pockets for pads or prosthetics, the Maia Bra is your versatile ‘go-to’ for any outfit.
Ultra-luxe, sustainable jersey cools and caresses skin. Voted “Best Bra with a Combination of Beauty and Comfort for All Surgery Types” by Business Insider, the Astrid Bralette can be worn anywhere and for any type of activity or sleep.
Cozy, luxe sustainable jersey is perfect for lounging and layering. The Maia Camisole is naturally cooling and anti-microbial, and it comes both with and without an internal shelf bra.
"In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful." — Alice Walker