Breast Cancer in women

Prostheses - artificial breasts

For the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, the chest can be sensitive. During these weeks women who have not had breast reconstruction are given a light fabric-covered prosthesis (artificial breast) known as a ‘softie’ or a ‘cumfie’. After this when the scar area has healed,  women are fitted for a permanent prosthesis made of siicone, which can be put inside the bra.

The silicone prostheses are made from soft silicone gel encased in a thin film, moulded to form the natural shape of a woman’s breast, or part of a breast. The outer surface feels soft and smooth, and may include a nipple outline. The surface that rests against the skin varies, and women can choose one that feels most comfortable for them. More information can be found at Breast Cancer Care.

Two women described being given a prosthesis after the operation and how they managed with this.


Describes her experience of choosing a prosthesis and her surprise at the quality.

Describes her experience of choosing a prosthesis and her surprise at the quality.

Age at interview: 56
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 55
Anyway to get back to the prostheses.

This nurse, this Cancer Care Nurse - excellent, I mean it's really good having a person that, you know, you could phone up any time you wanted if you'd got any problems, it was great. It's the same nurse who deals with the prostheses.

And I went along to the hospital on this particular day and she had this room full of all these boxes. And different sizes and everything. And different types. And I said to her' "Oh, it would be great to have a stick on," you see.

And she said' "Oh yes, we do them." And I was absolutely amazed. And apparently they'd only been out for about, less than a year. So I, so there was no contest. I said' "Look, I'll have one of these definitely."

So we went through all the, kind of trying to get the right size and everything. And, I mean, I was totally bowled over by how realistic these prostheses are. I mean they feel, they feel just like real flesh. It's absolutely amazing. And the fact they can actually stick is astonishing. So if anyone has this I would certainly recommend the stick on.


Discusses her experience of prostheses as a Patient and Fitter.

Discusses her experience of prostheses as a Patient and Fitter.

Age at interview: 49
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 30
Yes, I work for the Fitting Service now. And so I've trained as a fitter. Prostheses are absolutely wonderful now.

You can buy special bras, and special swimming costumes but you can actually, with a well fitting bra - every woman even without breast cancer should be wearing a well fitting bra - but with a well fitting, supportive, bra you can wear the prosthesis and nobody would know.

And I've realised as I'm talking to you that I'm actually wearing something quite shapeless and you can't tell whether I'm, whether I've got a well fitting bra and a good prosthesis or not.

But I promise you it's very good and you wouldn't know the difference.

I've now bilateral, bilateral mastectomy, but when I had a single mastectomy you wouldn't have known when I had the bra on.

And with maybe a tight fitting tee-shirt you wouldn't have known the difference between the mastectomy side and the natural side.

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Last reviewed August 2018.
Last updated August 2018.

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