Hi, I'm Dr. Katie Deming. In this video, I'm going to talk about finding a 100% cotton bra for radiation. This is actually what most surgeons and radiation oncologist tell their patients to get.
I can't tell you how many times I get this question and how frustrating it is, because I am a radiation oncologist myself, and I also was taught to tell my patients to wear a 100% cotton bra during radiation. This was during my residency, so this was like in the late 90's. Back then, maybe that was the only fabric that was available, but what I found out was that actually 100% percent cotton is really not a great idea for during radiation.
There couple things; number one, you need stretch. So a band needs to stretch and it needs to feel comfortable against your skin. 100% cotton without any stretch actually feels very restrictive. It can feel quite scratchy and it does breathe, but it also gets wet with sweat and it does not wick away moisture. So it actually can be problematic.
For me, when I started really problem solving with my own patients to help them find things to wear during radiation, I started researching fabrics because I realized that 100% cotton probably was not the best thing for my patients. It's kind of like with athletic gear. We used to tell people to exercise in 100% cotton because we thought it breathed, but then you know what? It gets wet and it does not perform well. The same thing is true in the advancements of fabrics for bras. There are other fabrics out there that are also good against the skin, breathable and natural. Now personally, I like the fabric modal. It's made from a beech tree, it's a natural fiber, and it has superior wicking and breathability properties to cotton. I like it when it's mixed with cotton, so actually our most recent bras are a mix of supima cotton from Peru, which is the finest supima cotton that you can find. Super soft, luxurious against your skin, and it's blended with modal. There is a little bit of spandex for added stretch.
This fabric combination is perfect for during radiation. It is more breathable than than 100% cotton. It has a nice amount of stretch so that it feels comfortable and not too binding during the treatment. It gives that really nice feel against your skin. It feels like cotton, but it just has kind of a smoother hand. The other nice thing about blending cotton with modal is it very washable. As you know, your doctor is recommending that you wear creams during radiation, so you're going to need to wash your bras. I wanted to make sure that whatever we used, in terms of fabric, would be highly washable. It turns out that this blend of modall and cotton is very washable, and makes it easy for you to wash and then lay your bra flat to dry, so you can wash it during radiation.
Hopefully that answers those questions. Please pass this information on to your doctor, because the truth is that it's just information. They're not out researching fabrics. That's not their job. They're researching the latest treatments for cancer. I just happened to be a doctor who was really interested in understanding the fabrics, and have done research in this area, but modal is an option for you to wear during radiation, and particularly mixed with cotton. It kind of provides that wonderful blend that will keep you comfortable and keep your skin and body breathing through the fabric, which is really important during radiation.
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