03/09/2018

Transformation Station at the LCRP helps female cancer patients find their fit

Here’s what you should expect from a post-mastectomy and wig fitting at the Transformation Station

Tucked away in the corner of the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion is a hidden gem for female cancer patients.

Transformation Station, located on the first floor of the LCRP between the chapel and palliative care, is a boutique that offers a variety of support services and products to assist breast and other female cancer patients in their fight against cancer.  

Transformation Station
Jane Kilen (left), American board certified mastectomy fitter, and William James, financial oncology analyst and Transformation Station manager.

“Transformation Station believes that quality of life is critical for physical and emotional wellness,” says Jane Kilen, American board certified mastectomy fitter. “We exist to support the healing process after surgery by fitting quality garments, wigs and medical supplies designed to complement their physician’s treatment and also enhance the beauty and comfort of the individual.”

About Transformation Station

Transformation Station is a warm, caring and private environment designed to make patients feel comfortable when learning about prosthesis, wig selection, skin care products and more. The certified mastectomy fitters work one-on-one with patients to address personal needs.

Among the products and services available at the Transformation Station are:

  • Post-surgery bras (front and  back closures)
  • Post-surgery camisoles
  • Mastectomy bras
  • Compression garments
  • Silicone breast forms
  • Partial forms and equalizers for lumpectomy and reconstructive surgeries
  • Hair alternatives including wigs, hats and scarves
  • Mastectomy swimwear
  • Skin care products such as deodorants and gel topicals

“We strive to provide service before the sale through education and information,” Kilen says. “We believe the more informed our clients are the more confidence they have in their appearance, thus giving back their sense of well-being.”

Kilen says after a fitting, she notices women stand up much straighter and appear happier and complete because they can go on with their daily activities. She’s even had women cry tears of joys because they are finally comfortable again thanks to their new prosthesis, bra or wig.

What is the post-mastectomy fitting process?

The most common service of the Transformation Station is post-mastectomy fittings. Patients should expect to spend an hour with the certified mastectomy fitter and bring the bra they are most comfortable in – whether it’s the bra they wore before surgery or one they’ve been fitted in before. A physician’s referral is required for a post-mastectomy fitting.

Most fittings occur six to eight weeks after surgery. If the patient is going through radiation, Kilen says they prefer to wait until after treatment is complete. Post-surgery camisoles and bras are available in the meantime.

“The idea is to get the proper fit the first time when there’s no swelling from surgery or radiation,” Kilen says.

During the post-mastectomy fitting process, the certified fitter will measure and evaluate the surgical area for pressure marks, scaring and sensitivity. The patient and fitter will discuss all appropriate treatment options including styles, shapes and materials, as well as the patient’s goals and expectations. Instructions on use and care of the items also will be provided during the fitting.

Women of all body types and skin colors can seek assistance from the Transformation Station. Prostheses are available in two colors: blush and tawny. The external silicone breast prosthesis is intended to replace surgically removed or altered breast tissue. Breast prostheses restore shape, weight and physiological symmetry.

The Transformation Station offers prosthesis that not only balances the weight distribution but also restores the sense of beauty and confidence of body image women felt prior to surgery, Kilen says.

“When the body has been altered by breast surgery, people not only experience an altered body image and mourning, but physical changes as well,” Kilen says. “The body becomes more heavily weighted on one side. Without correction of weight distribution, the joints in the spine erode over time as they are constantly pulled by gravity out of alignment. This can cause the shoulder to drop forward over time on the heavier side resulting in arthritis and other related skeletal and/or neurological problems.”

The post-mastectomy bra looks and feels like a traditional bra, but has several special characteristics that are unique and specific for use after a mastectomy, such as the integral pocket that holds the external breast prosthesis in place. The Transformation Station has a variety of post-mastectomy bras of all sizes and colors.

Will the prosthesis be noticeable?

While no fit can replace the removed breast, Kilen says a well-fitting external breast prosthesis should be fairly unnoticeable and provide physical and visual symmetry.

In addition, the Transformation Station offers mastectomy swim forms designed specifically to get wet.

What happens if there’s a change to my body?

Post-mastectomy fittings occur once a year in order to receive product.  If there is a change in condition – reduction in swelling, changes in post-surgical swelling, torso lymphedema, weight change, additional surgery – then a reevaluation of the fit of the prosthesis, garments and accessories is necessary, Kilen says.

Wig fittings

In addition to post-mastectomy fittings, another popular service at the Transformation Station is wig fittings.  

An appointment is recommended for a wig fitting; however, unlike post-mastectomy fittings, a doctor’s referral is not required. Kilen recommends patients schedule a wig fitting when their hair starts to fall out or if their physician is absolutely certain there will be hair loss. Kilen says it’s better to come in for a fitting with some hair left because she can match color and style. However, there are plenty of wigs available if a patient is looking for a different look, including hot pink.

The wigs at the Transformation Station are monofilament, which is a fiber friendly to sensitive scalps. Additionally, partial wigs are available, which can be worn under a hat, scarf or turban, and cost less than a full wig.

For more information

The Transformation Station is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Post-mastectomy fittings require a physician’s referral and notes prior to scheduling an appointment. Appointments are necessary for mastectomy fittings and recommended for wig fittings.

For more information, visit our website or call 912-819-8386.

  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000