A stable bra with compression (SBwC) was found to reduce pain and improve mobility and comfort significantly better than a soft bra in patients who underwent breast cancer surgery. These findings were presented in a European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS) session at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress.

More than 2 million women are affected by breast cancer every year worldwide. The primary curative treatment is surgery. Following surgical intervention, more than half of women report pain.

This study sought to evaluate whether the type of bra used after surgery affects pain and comfort. In this study, 201 women who underwent primary breast cancer surgery at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden were randomly assigned to wear a SBwC (104) or a soft bra (97) 24 hours a day for 3 weeks. Patients were asked to keep a record of comfort and pain symptoms.

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At days 14 and 21, no significant differences in pain scores were observed between the groups. In general, 68% of patients reported a numeric rating scale score higher than 3 during the first 14 days following surgery.

However, pain scores were lower in those wearing a SBwC after 3 weeks compared with those wearing a soft bra (mean, 2.0 vs 2.7; P =.018), respectively.

More SBwC wearers thought the bra provided good support and stability (92% vs 70%; P <.001), contributed to optimal comfort (85% vs 71%; P =.027), and contributed to security during activity (94% vs 83%; P =.032) compared with the soft bra cohort, respectively.

Malin Backman, MD, OCN, of Karolinska University Hospital and presenter of the study concluded, “The optimal evidence-based choice is the SBwC following [breast cancer] surgery. Now, all women [at our hospital] are offered a standard SBwC following [breast cancer] surgery.”


Backman M, Hassan-Nur M, Fridblom K, et al. OptiBra study: optimal postoperative bra support after breast cancer surgery. Ann Oncol. 2022;33(suppl_7):S827-S836. doi:10.1016/annonc/annonc1046