- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast prostheses
- Caring for a breast prosthesis
Caring for a breast prosthesis
Prostheses usually last around two years, but they may last a shorter or longer time depending on how often they are worn, how well they’re looked after and your lifestyle. Check that your bra fits correctly every 12 months. You will probably need a new bra and breast prosthesis if your weight changes. If the prosthesis splits or cracks at the seams, it should be replaced. You can throw away your old or damaged prostheses in your general rubbish collection. Silicone cannot be recycled.
How to care for your breast prosthesis
- Handwash the prosthesis after every wear. Use warm water and a mild unscented soap or a cleanser supplied by the prosthesis manufacturer. Rinse the prosthesis thoroughly and pat it dry with a towel.
- Rinse the prosthesis in clean water soon after swimming to remove chlorine or saltwater.
- Use a soft, fibre-filled prosthesis in a sauna – a silicone prosthesis may heat up against your skin.
- Avoid using body lotions, perfumed deodorant or tanning lotion around your prosthesis as these products can damage it.
- Store your prosthesis in the box it came in to help keep its shape and protect it from sunlight and heat.
- Take care when placing brooches onto your clothing.
- Take care when gardening, especially if you are gardening near shrubs or plants with thorns.
- Take care when handling pets so their claws don’t damage the prosthesis.
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dragana Ceprnja, Senior Physiotherapist and Health Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jan Davies, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Director, Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, ACT; Ashleigh Mondolo, Clinical Nurse Consultant Breast Care Nurse, Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane, QLD; Dr Jane O’Brien, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC; Moira Waters, Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Sharon Woolridge, Consumer; Rebecca Yeoh, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.