Norfolk mastectomy boutique helping breast cancer patients by providing unique service and support

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Cancer treatment can be grueling. The side effects of chemotherapy can take a toll on the spirit, but a small boutique at a local hospital is trying to change that.

It’s called Silhouette Mastectomy Boutique, and it’s in the lobby of the new Sentara Brock Cancer Center. The boutique was founded on the Virginia Peninsula 12 years ago. The second location in Norfolk opened in August 2020.

At first glance, Silhouette looks like a typical boutique, but then you see the inspirational quotes, pink ribbons, wigs and bras and realize it’s much more.

“When they come in here, some of them are torn and they just don’t know what to expect,” said Linda Williams. “And when they get the products and get the bras and the prothesis, it just gives them their life back and its just amazing.”

Williams is a certified mastectomy fitter at Silhouette’s, helping women who are battling breast cancer.

“After surgery, you need the products, you need your mastectomy bras and your forms to make you feel pretty much natural life again,” said Williams.

The boutique is in Sentara’s new Brock Cancer Center.

“They have the imaging, the chemo, the radiation, mammograms, everything is done in this one building and after they finish that, they can come here and get their product,” said Williams.

The team at Sentara wanted to create a centralized and holistic approach for their patients.

Oncology Service Line Director Meredith Strand said, “Cancer is stressful enough, and so what we really want to do is support that patient and their family the best way we can, and so offering that service in one location really saves them a lot of time and stress.”

However, it’s about more than convenience, it’s also about community.

Darlene Shirley, a Silhouette’s employee, said, “We let them know that we both are survivors, so both of us have our stories.’

Yes, both Shirley and Williams are also breast cancer survivors. So, they can relate to what the patients are going through and help them navigate the process.

“Everybody in this building is here to help women that are going through it. We all have been there and we know what it’s like,” said Williams.

That support, both emotionally and physically, is what makes their job well worth it.

“Just seeing the happiness and the satisfaction on the customers’ faces and the women, you know, they’re just so happy and they feel alive and feel more of themselves,” said Shirley. “It’s just priceless to me.”

All of the women 10 On Your Side spoke with Wednesday want to remind people to get their screenings, even as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic. That includes mammograms, colorectal screenings, and more.

“It’s still as important as ever to get your screenings during COVID,” said Strand. “We’ve taken a lot of measures to ensure safety for our patients and so I’d encourage them to continue getting their mammograms, their colorectal screenings, all of their recommended screenings.”

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