Surviving Breast Cancer With Help of Prosthesis - 8 News NOW

Paula Francis, Anchor

Surviving Breast Cancer With Help of Prosthesis

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Surviving breast cancer sometimes means the loss of one or both breasts. One of the options afterwards may be breast prosthesis. And in some cases, not wearing one can be an unhealthy choice.

Sun City resident, Jane Kusel is an 18-year breast cancer survivor. Having lost both breasts, she shops for specialized apparel at Carol's Post Mastectomy shop in Henderson.

Jane Kusel said, "The name of the game is longevity and quality of life. After that, you deal with the visual and the more material."

For a woman with large breasts, prosthesis might be recommended for reasons besides appearance. The device may be necessary to replace the weight of the breast.

Las Vegas medical oncologist Anu Thummala tells the Eye on Health team that not wearing a prosthesis, or wearing one that's not the right size, can result in several problems including: spinal curvature, shoulder drop, muscle contracture causing back or neck pain, and balance problems.

Holly Lyman, with the Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center, says they work closely Carol's shop because an expert fit is essential for both health and emotional well being.

"Having a prosthesis on the other side helps you to balance out. But emotionally, it also helps you feel like a natural woman, to feel normal like everyone else -- wear normal clothes. So physically and emotionally, its a wonderful thing for a woman to have that prosthesis," Lyman explained.

Jane Kusel says another aspect of the emotional side of healing is support from family and friends, and in her case, her husband Donald. "It's just strengthened our bond. In fact, we're married forty years in December."

Carol's Post Mastectomy, in partnership with the Barbara Greenspun WomensCare Center have just received a $10,500 grant from Susan G. Komen for The Cure of Southern Nevada.

The money will help uninsured women who could not otherwise afford breast prostheses.

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E-mail your comments to Anchor Paula Francis or Medical Reporter Rick Andrews.

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