By Steve Blanchard - October 05, 2021
Even after having some reconstruction surgery following a bilateral mastectomy, Susan Brill never felt fully comfortable in her skin. But while working as a volunteer patient and family advocate with Moffitt Cancer Center, Brill learned of a new service offered at Moffitt’s Magnolias Salon: mastectomy fittings for breast prothesis and bras for breast cancer patients.
“I had always had such a difficult time finding bras that fit right and that I felt comfortable in,” Brill said. “The new materials can be so clingy. As soon as I learned about the service at Moffitt, I made my appointment, came in and saw Tasha and was fitted.”
Brill said the selection she made allowed her to feel “more balanced” and more confident. So confident, in fact, that Brill said she has purchased shirts with V-necks, something she hadn’t done in a few years. Tasha Swafford, manager of retail services, said Brill is just one of many breast cancer patients to take advantage of the mastectomy fittings at Magnolias Salon, which began offering the service in February. As word spread about the fittings, demand increased.
“When we started the service, we just had appointments available a few days a week,” Swafford said. “Now we have demand for appointments all week and we are actually looking to hire another mastectomy fitter to come onboard to accommodate. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and many women are surprised to learn that insurance can help cover the service.”
Swafford said she received specialized training for the mastectomy fittings and added that the service is completely private and done in a room separate from the actual salon. The fittings not only include options for bras and prostheses, but for swimwear and other specialty garments, as well.
“A mastectomy isn’t only a physical transformation, it can be a psychological one, as well,” Swafford said. “This service is a way for women to regain that confidence and self-esteem that they may not have even realized they lost.”
"This service is a way for women to regain that confidence and self-esteem that they may not have even realized they lost."- Tasha Swafford, manager of retail services for Magnolias Salon
Of course, Magnolias Salon offers a full range of other services, from hair stylings, wig fittings and nail treatments. It’s location on Moffitt’s Magnolia Campus provides convenience to most patients, who can book appointments online.
Brill said she recommends the salon’s services to every patient she meets and shares her own personal cancer journey in the process.
“I felt so limited before and just didn’t feel comfortable because I felt unbalanced,” Brill said. “I personally thought that the unbalance was noticeable. That’s why I’m so happy with this product and the service at Magnolias Salon. It just goes hand in hand with the overall caring I received, and continue to receive, here at Moffitt.”