Today, the Nottingham Breast Institute unveiled it's brand new bra shop. Funded by donations made to the Nottingham Hospitals Charity, and the overall project costing £240,000, it's a major investment in the wellbeing of the women who are treated for breast cancer in Nottingham each year. The project also includes the addition of a new, welcoming reception area which now offers more privacy to patients when arriving.
The shop is a friendly space with a lovely private fitting area neatly tucked into the corner, where women can try and buy new bras, or have their prosthesis fitted or checked. It stocks a small selection of post surgical bras with access to other designs to order.
Today, I met Marcia and Gwen, who were delighted to introduce us all to their new fitting space. Consultant clinician Lisa Hamilton who championed the initiative, highlighted the need for dignity and respect when advising women on the sensitive subject of breast prostheses, and the need for a less clinical setting.
Marcia Brown is a specialist nurse at the Breast Institute who has been trained to give advice on what kind of prosthesis to wear after surgery, and thanks to the new shop, a selection of bras as well. Gwen is one of a team of volunteers who have been trained to fit bras, and she was very excited about the prospect of being able to put her new found skills to great use.
A little known fact I discovered during my visit is that every woman treated by the NHS is entitled to a new prosthesis (if needed) every two years. After that time, a referral is needed from your GP if you think you might need a new prosthesis. I am still an outpatient receiving treatment, so I can arrange an appointment with Marcia to evaluate what's happened to my breast shape and shape since I was last fitted four years ago. When I visit, I'll update again.
Marcia is available by appointment on four week days, excluding Thursdays. You can telephone for an appointment on 0115 969 1169. The shop is open and a staffed with a team of volunteers from 2 - 4pm each week day, many of whom have been through their own breast cancer journeys.