A new lingerie shop dedicated to women who have had breast cancer treatment has opened at the Nottingham Breast Institute.
The Bra Shop, which launched on Tuesday to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is the first hospital-based lingerie store to open outside of London.
It is part of a £240,000 programme of improvements at the Breast Institute, funded through Nottingham Hospitals Charity. Other improvements include a refurbished reception area.
Maureen Smart, a service manager at the Breast Institute, said: “It is great that the charity has funded this facility. Patients can see a full range of stock, and there is someone to help and offer advice. They can be fitted in an environment where it is safe to ask questions with fully trained people who understand the needs of this group of patients.”
The Bra Shop stocks a full range of bras and swimwear designed especially for women who have had breast surgery, with a percentage of the profits going to Nottingham Hospitals Charity.
Breast cancer patient Clare Perkins, from Sherwood, Nottingham said: “After my mastectomy I couldn’t wear any of my bras as they were uncomfortable and didn’t fit any more. I felt embarrassed going into a high street store and asking for a fitting when I’d just had surgery. Plus they didn’t have a great range to choose from.
“It is excellent that Nottingham Hospitals Charity has funded this facility at the Breast Institute where you know people understand and are sympathetic to what you need.”
Another former patient, Jackie Bradley, from Nuthall, commented: “After a mastectomy you have to pluck up courage to go into a high street store for a bra fitting and for some people that’s just too much, they’ll just make do.
“The last thing you want to do is to talk to a sales assistant who’s never seen scars. It’s so much easier to reveal yourself to someone who understands, so this will make a huge difference. Getting the right bra, especially if it’s pretty too, is a big plus – a real confidence booster.”
Women can browse stock from five designers – Woman Zone, Amoena, Thamert Trulife and Anita – and get expert advice and fittings from specially trained volunteers. The shop also stocks non-mastectomy bras.