How to Choose the Right Bra Post-Mastectomy or Lumpectomy

A Q&A with Dana Donofree of Ana Ono

Erin Hazelton is a freelance writer and women’s health advocate. Formerly a fashion and beauty writer, Erin’s career changed paths after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. Since then, her main objective has been educating women about the nuances of breast cancer and encouraging resilience in the face of adversity. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from New York University. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Farmington, Connecticut.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with breast cancer… and why you started AnaOno?

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27, I felt like I was catapulted into a world that was built for my grandmom. It went from being the youngest person in the chemo room to being sent to mastectomy boutiques with brown walls and beige bras. I wanted nothing other than to feel like myself; I wanted to feel beautiful, desired, and, dare I say, sexy. But seeing my options, it felt like the world was telling me I wasn’t allowed to be those things anymore. And that was not good enough. I decided to take my decade-plus of fashion experience and design bras that did. It wasn’t just about fit and comfort, it was about how I felt. It was my little way to give back to others who were just like me. 

2. As we all know, not every breast surgery is the same. Some choose reconstruction, some don’t. Some have a lumpectomy. Can you please tell us how to choose the right bra for each kind of surgery?

Surgery decisions are just as much personal as they are medical. Some have a choice, some don’t. Others want reconstruction, some don’t. The point is—no matter the choice, no matter if you made it not—you get the opportunity to still feel like you… with or without your breasts, because we know breasts don’t define you. The way you express yourself does. 


After reconstruction, wearing underwire bras or molded cups can be tricky (and uncomfortable). I always recommend a wireless bralette that has shallow cups and a fuller fit throughout the cups. If I were to pick my favorite AnaOno bras for this chest, I would always recommend the Gloria: she’s fun, flirty, and, damn it, she’s sexy! I also LOVE the Monica bra. It’s great for any day, morning, or night. It is especially comfortable, beyond healing, to wear to work (while you sit at the Zoom screen), or even on a date night! Nothing is off limits in the collection, all styles are designed to fit your new body. 

No Reconstruction: 

When opting for aesthetic flat closure instead of rebuilding breast mounds, it doesn’t mean your underwear drawer has to change as well... there are still options to wear something comfortable, and sexy, when desired. I LOVE the Leslie bra for flat chests. It is so comfy and silky soft, it’s like wearing nothing at all, yet it can provide that against-the-skin coverage and protection one may desire. 

Another favorite, the Maggie, is specially designed for flat beauties and inspired by my beautiful friend Maggie, of Bald Ballerina. Made with sexy lace and low plunging cups, this bra will give the fit that is required, and the fashion that is desired. Let the mesh lace peek its way through a low plunging neck, or pair it with a sultry panty for intimate moments…eventually it can get unhooked, *wink wink.*


Wearing breast forms to mimic the shape of missing breasts under clothing is a completely personal choice. You can use forms sometimes or everyday… it’s up to you. There are many stories of seeing our loved ones tuck away their “breasts” after a long day, and we are here to tell you the choice is 100% yours! Want to wear Foobs one day, great! Don’t want to wear them the next day, great! All our AnaOno bras are pocketed and can be used with inserted breast forms, prosthetics, and custom breast forms, the choice is all yours. Pick a style, an occasion, an everyday moment, the choice is yours.


Many may wonder if they need a different bra after a lumpectomy, some do, some don’t. It can really depend on where your incision site is located (like in the breast fold) or if you had radiation therapy after your lumpectomy and suffer from extended skin sensitivity or asymmetry. It’s okay; we got you. All of our bras are pocketed so you can slip in an extra modesty pad or balance form to achieve symmetry, if you desire. 

I also want to focus on skin sensitivities when it comes to bra shopping. Our proprietary modal material is seriously buttery soft. It will keep your skin cool and protected during and after treatment. If you incision is in the breast fold, underwire may be uncomfortable, but the Rora and the Monica bra offer great support for cups A through DD. They give you the comfort and support you deserve. If you can’t bear the idea of “no underwire” while at work or throughout the day, cozy up in our Delilah for sleeping, and enjoy that silky, soft touch to the skin while staying supported. 

3. Are there any other types of bras you’d suggest for other parts of breast cancer treatment? To use during chemotherapy or radiation, or after radiation? 

Radiation, specifically, can be troublesome to your skin. We recommend any style in our silky soft modal material to get you the comfort you deserve. The Monica and Rora are fan favorites, but we have many styles that will provide the support and protection during this difficult time. 

During chemotherapy, you may just find yourself in general discomfort (I know I did), and living in a sports bra was all I could muster in my day-to-day life, so I get it. I recommend asking yourself what makes you feel beautiful, and even more importantly, like yourself. If it’s comfort, anything from our modal collections will give you what you need. If feeling pretty (even just for a day), splurge on something fancy, something lacy, something sexy. Sometimes a beautiful bra, like the Susan or the Maggie, can lift your spirits… Maybe when the wig goes on, the eyebrows are drawn in, and the lashes are in place, you’ll feel like topping things off with a little intimate expression.

4. What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone supporting a woman who has just had breast cancer surgery?

Listen. Just listen. You don’t need words, we don’t usually need to hear them… unless they come from someone who’s really been there and “done that.” But even then, not every breast cancer is the same. It’s only natural to want to talk, to draw on a similar experience, or to commiserate and share a dreadful moment to counter an equally dreadful moment. But it’s ok. You don’t have to say it, because we actually don’t need to hear it. We just need someone to love us, listen to us, and care for us.

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I wanted nothing other than to feel like myself; I wanted to feel beautiful, desired, and, dare I say, sexy. But seeing my options, it felt like the world was telling me I wasn’t allowed to be those things anymore.

- Dana Donofree

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