30th June 2017

Up until this evening, women in Cork who have had surgery for breast cancer, and need to wear a breast prosthesis, receive 2 bras each year, and a breast prosthesis every two years -through the HSE.

We were informed on the afternoon of June 28th that the HSE had implemented drastic cuts to this. This policy was to take effect on the 1st of June but due to their lateness in informing suppliers it is to come into effect from 1st July this year.

Women will no longer receive any specialised prosthetic bras. These bras can cost from €40 to €70 each. These bras are designed specifically for use post-surgery and are not available to buy in main stream shops.

The women will have to contact their Community Health Organisation to look for a voucher every two years -to the value of €68.50 – which can be put towards a breast prosthesis, Women will have to pay at least an extra €100 approx. just for their prosthesis if they can afford it and many won’t be able to. They will have to continue to wear a breast prosthesis, which is the wrong size, or out of shape due to age.

They might have to continue to wear a breast prosthesis, which is the wrong size, or out of shape due to age.

Prosthesis and post-surgery bras are not like ordinary bras. Incorrect or badly fitted bras will have a negative impact on neck and shoulders resulting in pain, reduced mobility and permanent misalignment of their spine. A badly fitted bra may also increase the risk of the woman developing lymphoedema, which is an incurable long-term condition which causes swelling, pain, suffering, and sometimes an infection called cellulitis.

A diagnosis of cancer is a devastating thing to face. For most people once their treatment is completed and their health returns, they can move on. Whereas the loss of part of, one or both breasts has an enormous psychological impact on women’s self-esteem, body image, self-confidence, and consequently health. Cancer is not a choice. What the HSE are proposing is going to be a direct blow to these survivors…. Our mothers, Grandmothers, sisters, friends. It is vital that they still have access to specialised bras and prosthesis

Thankfully the breast cancer survival rate is increasing and now the growing number of survivors is to be penalised for wanting and trying to look as they did before.