Following a successful 12 year partnership with Breakthrough Breast Cancer and to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October 2012), Marks & Spencer has collaborated with women who have recently had breast cancer surgery to create real life bra solutions advice.
The aim of the advice page is to share the real life experiences of breast cancer patients Fran, Christina, Charlotte and Sarah, and for M&S to provide expert advice for these women, and others, on future post-surgery bra shopping.
The women’s individual stories reveal the different issues the four women affected by breast cancer have experienced and therefore highlight some of the different requirements that post surgery consumers might have.
M&S technical manager for lingerie, Julia Mercer, offers her advice on which post-surgery bras may be most suitable for women after various stages of surgery.
Mercer said: “It is always better to do a bra fitting when recommending any product for post surgery, as the scar tissue must be considered and every surgery is different, and breasts are different. Visit our stores where our bra fitters have been training in fitting and advising customers in this very important area.”
In addition to real life stories, the advice page also includes a downloadable PDF guide to post-surgery bras, which has been created in conjunction with Breakthrough Breast Cancer. The guide explains why the right bra is so important and highlights the different components of post-surgery bras, as well as detailing which M&S stores stock the post-surgery range.
M&S was reportedly the first high street retailer to create a range of post-surgery lingerie, after receiving a letter from a loyal M&S lingerie customer in 2005, outlining the challenge of finding pretty, affordable lingerie for women who, like her, had undergone breast cancer surgery.
The M&S Lingerie Department took action by developing a range tailored to meet these needs, and so M&S launched its first specialist collection in 2006.
The retailer now offers an extensive range of post-surgery lingerie, which is updated each season. Mercer works closely with Breakthrough Breast Cancer and their supporters to continually develop and improve on the range.
As well as producing the post-lingerie range, M&S aims to raise awareness of breast cancer, with informative swing-tags on products, information in fitting rooms, as well as hosting NHS breast screening in store car parks. A proportion of M&S fundraising is used to fund the Breakthrough Generations Study, which looks into the causes of breast cancer.
The retailer raises over £2 million for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, each year, via donations on an exclusive range of products in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Spring for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, employee fundraising, and a Change 4 Change scheme, which converts foreign and outdated currency into funds for the charity.