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If Your Bra Could Talk

March 16, 2018 | AONN+ Blog | Breast Cancer
Featuring:
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Administrative Director, The Johns Hopkins Breast Center; Director, Johns Hopkins Cancer Survivorship Programs; Professor of Surgery and Oncology, JHU School of Medicine; Co-Creator, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work

If your bra could talk, do you know what she would tell you?

For a long time now, I’ve fantasized about having a ventriloquism act that included talking breasts or a talking pink bra. It seems that with the success of those TV spots starring crash-test dummies who talk and inspire us to wear our seat belts, maybe a talking bra could help reduce our fear of breast cancer, as well as educate and inspire to get annual mammograms.

Don’t you think so?

When a young girl gets her first bra, it might say to her, “Welcome to womanhood. Please take care of the new breasts in here. They are growing and maturing, and need special attention at times. Your breasts will go through changes in the coming years as they grow, so don’t be alarmed if you have funny aches and pains, and lumps and bumps—they are responses to hormonal changes. And please make sure you don’t wash me with the regular laundry, or I won’t last very long!”

The bra of a young woman might declare, “Hey! You keep forgetting to do your breast self-exam! What’s the problem here? Remember, the time to do it is a few days after your menstrual period ends. Look for a change from last month to this month. If you find one, report it to your doctor. Take me and the breasts I’m holding to the doctor for an annual clinical breast exam, too. And after we’re done, schedule next year’s appointment so that it’s already in your busy calendar. Starting at age 40, take me for an annual mammogram, please! I want the breasts in here to stay healthy. By the way, could you get matching panties for us to wear?"

The bra of a mature woman would tell her, “Although your breasts have changed and may droop a bit when I’m not here to keep them in place, they still need to be valued—and checked. So please keep up the habits you learned long ago. After all, the incidence of breast cancer increases with age. I’m proud of the wonderful job your breasts have done for you over your lifetime—nursing your children and giving you confidence as a woman. Thanks for keeping me around, too. Remember, I still like matching panties.”

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