Why some breast cancer survivors are getting their implants removed

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Yahoo Lifestyle will be publishing first-person accounts of those who have been affected by the disease, which will be responsible for the deaths of an estimated 40,920 women (and nearly 500 men) this year. All women have about a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of developing some form of breast cancer. Awareness, screenings, and early detection can save lives. 

When Elizabeth Peppas was diagnosed with extensive, noninvasive breast cancer in 2007, she found herself heading into a devastating surgery: double mastectomy. But she, like so many other women, hoped that her loss would be soothed by having immediate reconstruction of both breasts. She opted for a popular, two-stage process, starting with the placement of temporary tissue expanders between the skin and chest muscle and ending with the swapping in of permanent silicone implants.

“Since I was recently remarried, and was a runner and really fit, I didn’t want to lose that femininity,” Peppas, 60, tells Yahoo Lifestyle about her choice to have reconstruction. “But I would not make the same decision again.”

That’s because the two-stage process instead turned into a yearslong nightmare: near-constant pain, battles with a condescending surgeon who crushed her ribs by overfilling her expanders, and a dizzying series of five surgeries, including one to fix ruptured implants and another to investigate and remove a mass that turned out to be a lymph node filled with leaked silicone.

The saga didn’t end until August 2018, when Peppas decided to “explant,” or have her implants removed, once and for all.

“I absolutely hated them. They felt like shot puts. Every breath I took was horrible,” the North Carolina retiree recalls, adding that she intends to urge others to think long and hard before opting for a process that she believes has more to do with societal pressure than mental or physical health. “When I heal a bit more, I will definitely be a voice to reckon with.”

Peppas is part of an increasingly vocal chorus of women who, for a range of reasons — pain or discomfort, complications, epiphanies about the possible health-compromising effects of silicone — are choosing to explant following post-mastectomy reconstruction. And these women are just a part of the growing movement of women who have embraced “going flat,” or living breast-free, after what many say was undue pressure from surgeons to reconstruct in the first place.

Of course, explanting is not the whole story. Reconstruction can be a godsend for women, with many reporting overall satisfaction with their new breasts, as well as high levels of psychosocial and sexual wellbeing — something being especially touted this week for Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day (Oct. 17), a collaborative campaign of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Plastic Surgery Foundation, and silicone-implant makers Mentor and Allergan. “Breast reconstruction is a physically and emotionally rewarding procedure for a woman who has lost a breast due to cancer or other condition,” the website notes. “The creation of a new breast can dramatically improve your self-image, self-confidence and quality of life.”

That has been true for Victoria Heller, 54, of New York City, who had a double mastectomy with implant reconstruction after being diagnosed with extensive noninvasive breast cancer in 2017. “I couldn’t have faced going flat,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I love what I have … and they have given me an enormous confidence boost. I was topless everywhere this summer, and feel so much better about my body in general. I consider my new breasts to be something nice to have come out of something that was so horrible.”

She echoes the positive experiences of other women who spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle about their reconstruction, including a 48-year-old Rhode Island mother of two who notes, “I lost what was, but I still have breasts [implants] — and though they’re different, they do feel like mine.” Another woman, 49, of Boston, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that after her unilateral mastectomy and implant reconstruction this past summer, “I’m super-happy. My bοοb rocks.”

Still, those who explant are crucial examples of an oft-glossed-over fact: Reconstruction is not always the good-as-real replacement option — or sanity-saving necessity — it’s often made out to be.

Photo: Design by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle

In 2018, an estimated 266,120 women will be diagnosed with some form of invasive breast cancer, along with 63,960 with noninvasive (in situ) breast cancer, as was the case with Peppas. That, combined with the growing numbers of women being tested for BRCA genetic mutations (which vastly increase the risk for breast cancer) and choosing to have preventative mastectomies if they test positive, has led to a sharp rise in the surgery. While there are no precise national counts of mastectomies in any specific year, the overall rate of the surgery, combining both single and double amputations, has increased by 36 percent in recent years — from 66 per 100,000 women in 2005 to 90 per 100,000 women in 2013 — according to one study.

And while plenty of women reject breast reconstruction — about 25 percent of double mastectomy patients and nearly half of single decide to go flat, according to one study— the rise in mastectomies has brought an increase of women being offered and choosing it.

It’s a process that can take various forms: expanders and breast implants (either silicone or saline) placed under or over the muscle; natural tissue flaps, called “autologous” reconstruction (using skin, fat, or muscle from elsewhere on a woman’s body, typically the belly or back); or a combination of those methods, usually depending on an individual’s body type.

Results vary, as a comprehensive new study of patient-reported outcomes, published in JAMA, found (with those who used tissue-flap methods over implants reporting slightly higher degrees of overall satisfaction two and four years out). But reconstruction always brings with it a lack of sensation — something that come as a disconcerting shock, as the fact of expected numbness is not always made clear by surgeons.

Still, according to one report, published in 2017, the rate of women choosing post-mastectomy reconstruction rose 62 percent between 2009 and 2014. The question is: At what price?

Photo: Samantha Paige, left, and Elizabeth Peppas, both chose to explant after having post-mastectomy reconstruction. (Illustrations by Jonathan Crow & Design by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle)

Complications — and more surgeries

One in three women undergoing breast reconstruction has complications (ranging from minor skin irritations to major infections), according to the comprehensive new report in JAMA, while one in five requires more surgery, as in the (extreme) case of Peppas. In only five to seven percent of all cases (higher with implants vs. flaps) does reconstruction fail altogether — meaning that the implant must be removed or that the tissue did not survive in reconstructions using a woman’s own transplanted tissue.

But that small percentage of failures does not take into account the women who choose to explant. Andrea Pusic, chief of plastic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a lead author in the JAMA study, estimates from her personal experience that about the same percentage of women — perhaps seven percent — decide on their own to have their implants removed at some point in the process.

“Without data support, it’s hard to say,” Pusic, who is also a spokesperson for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “But in my own experience of 17 years, I think it’s not uncommon that women will want their implant removed for discomfort or pain … or that there’s something about the feeling of it that she just doesn’t like,” she says. “They shouldn’t feel that they have to keep their implant. Reconstruction is for my patient, it’s not for me. The reason we do this is for the patient’s quality of life, and if it’s diminishing her quality of life, then by all means she should have it removed.”

That’s what Tiffany Ostman, 37, a mother of three in Chesapeake, Va., ultimately decided to do. Ostman was diagnosed at age 29 with noninvasive cancer in her left breast, plus something “suspicious” detected on the right.  At her doctor’s urging, she had a double mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction with implants. But that was just the start of a long and painful road that included an astounding number of surgeries as well as tussles with her doctor, whose attitude was unfortunately less supportive than Pusic’s.

Photo: Design by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle

“I never knew it was an option to not reconstruct,” Ostman tells Yahoo Lifestyle now, recalling how her choices were not fully presented to her. (A small study analyzed the rushed and unsupported ways women often face reconstruction choices, noting, “The decision process is complicated by the stressful circumstance of being recently diagnosed with breast cancer and the compact timeline for decision-making. … Other than consultation with the surgical oncologist and plastic surgeon … most hospital settings do not have a formalized structure in place to help women make decisions.”)

Ostman’s difficult reconstruction process included close to 10 additional surgeries to make revisions, the development of lymphedema (chronic swelling that occurs after the surgical removal of lymph nodes, a standard part of mastectomy), and a torn chest muscle, which prompted her plastic surgeon to want to “go back in, pull fat out of my hip, put it in a concave spot, and pretty much call it a day. He wanted to make them pretty.”

That was the final straw for Ostman. “That’s when I was like, ‘I’m done. Enough.’” She realized she wanted to go flat once and for all, and felt emboldened to do so by a friend who had endured breast cancer treatment and told her — before she died — “Your bοοbs don’t define you.”

Her surgeon’s demeanor became combative, however, when Ostman informed him of her decision.

“He looked disappointed and seemed annoyed from then on,” she recalls.  And instead of making her flat during explant surgery, as she had asked, the surgeon left behind pockets of skin in case she changed her mind — a paternalistic bait-and-switch that’s reportedly happening way more often than it should. Kim Bowles, one of the leading voices in the cause, who has appeared on the Today show and held topless protestsoutside the hospital where she had her surgery, calls it “flat denial.”

Alas, when Ostman asked her surgeon about the extra skin pouches at her six-month follow-up, she recalls, “He grabbed one and pulled it and said, ‘Well, you have a little room there. How would you feel about some tiny implants?’ No! They just can’t fathom why we wouldn’t want bοοbs.”

Photo: Andrea Kelsall, left, and Tiffany Ostman, also opted to explant. (Illustrations by Jonathan Crow & Design by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle)

Pressure to reconstruct

What’s at the heart of so many of these explant stories, beyond the unforeseeable complications, is what patients describe as the almost bullying pressure from their surgeons to reconstruct in the first place.

Pusic admits she is “dismayed” to hear about it. But, she says, “Not to excuse it, but some of it may be with good intentions, in the sense of wanting to spare and mitigate some of the body image changes that happen. I think, as a surgeon, with a young woman having bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, that can be a bit of a jarring image. And to some extent, it might be just trying to minimize the tough parts of dealing with breast cancer. But it might be a bit misguided.”

Deanna Attai, an assistant clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles and past president of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, tells Yahoo Lifestyle she has “no idea” why surgeons would pressure women into having reconstruction against their will. “I don’t know if it’s just like all surgeons feel that all women identify with their breasts? Many women do, but I have many cancer patients who say, ‘You know, they don’t mean anything to me, and especially now.’ The patient should never feel pressured to do one thing or the other.”

Attai recalls meeting with a BRCA-positive patient several years ago who had come to her for a second opinion about her preventative mastectomy, and that the patient had been adamant about not wanting reconstruction.

“She said, ‘The reason I came to you was I saw another [female] surgeon, who said she would do the mastectomy without reconstruction but insisted that I get a psychiatric evaluation first,’” Attai recalls. “I just looked at her and thought, that’s kind of crazy. She was a professor at a local college, she was well spoken, well educated, and this was something she clearly had been thinking about for a long time. I just had no idea that attitude was out there.”

Photo: Design by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle

Catherine Guthrie, a health journalist and author of the new memoir Flat: Reclaiming My Body After Breast Cancer, sees the pressure from surgeons as the result of a complex and sexist paradigm. “To the average (‘unwoke’) breast or plastic surgeon, a woman facing mastectomy is standing on the brink of losing her worth, her status, her desirability,” Guthrie recently told The Last Word on Nothing. “If those are the stakes, who can blame physicians for pressuring women to reconstruct? Through a paternalistic lens, a breast cancer patient must reconstruct lest she lose the gaze of her boyfriend, husband, or — for single women — future boyfriends and partners.”

Guthrie continued, “It’s 2018, yet it’s still not uncommon for a woman who requests a double mastectomy without reconstruction to be sent to a psychiatrist by a surgeon who fears his patient has lost her mind. The fact that breast cancer care continues to privilege the male gaze speaks volumes to the lack of agency women have over their bodies.”

Andrea Kelsall learned that lesson the hard way. After her stage III diagnosis in 2013, at the age of 43, the Vancouver, B.C., nurse faced a cavalcade of treatments: double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal treatment. She did not have reconstruction right away.

“When I was first diagnosed, my only thoughts were: Take it out, get it off. My breasts had served their purpose. They had fed my three children and I had no need for them anymore,” Kelsall tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The relief I felt after waking up from my original left side mastectomy was amazing. I was content with being flat on that side and considered all my options during the chemo that followed. It was my husband [a physician] who convinced me to see a plastic surgeon.”

He wrangled her an appointment with one of the area’s top doctors, who “was certain she would be able to ‘make me feel better,’” Kelsall recalls, noting that, in hindsight, she was simply feeling tired from chemo, not depressed about her breasts. But, she says, “my husband was keen on the reconstruction, and I guess I was too.”

Kelsall was pleased with the initial results and soon moved forward with nipple reconstruction. But within about three years she developed “unbearable” pain due to a complication known as capsular contracture — the tightening of scar tissue around an implant, a particular risk for women undergoing radiation therapy, which can cause tissue damage.

Photo: Design by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle

Once again, Kelsall was ready to go flat. But once again, her husband and plastic surgeon urged her to give reconstruction another go, so she had her implants removed and replaced in the spring of 2017. The pain of contracture returned by summer, but Kelsall waited almost a year to see the plastic surgeon so she could bolster her confidence and not be “talked into doing it again.” She got her husband and surgeon on board with going flat, and finally explanted in September.

“A really nice immediate change was feeling warmth on my skin,” she reports. “My fake bοοbs were cold all the time. The skin was icy to touch. Now the skin is warm again.” She’s being open about her story, she explains, because “I don’t think I should have had to endure all these surgeries for some ‘expectation’ of how I should look.”

Samantha Paige, of Los Angeles, also arrived at that realization circuitously. After opting for a preventative double mastectomy in 2008 because she tested positive for the BRCA-1 gene mutation, she had reconstruction. “I got the biggest implants my body would take and walked away from it with a gorgeous pair of breasts that were big and perky,” recalls Paige, 43. But she found her new breasts to be numb, uncomfortable when she exercised, and possibly making her sick, as she soon connected various health ailments(though not supported by studies) to her implants.

Paige made the decision to explant. Her doctor did not pressure her to reconsider, and as soon as they came out, she recalls, “I really have never felt better in my body.” Paige is now a visible “flat activist,” particularly on her Instagram page, Last Cut Project, and even appeared in a 2017 Equinox ad campaign bearing her mastectomy scars.

That similar feeling of empowerment has prompted many others to share their stories with support groups such as Flat & Fabulous, a closed Facebook community more than 7,500 strong, co-founded by a woman who explanted when she felt that her implants were making her sick.

Recently, shared one Flat & Fabulous member in response to a Yahoo Lifestyle query, “I explanted the expanders shortly after my surgery. I didn’t really want [reconstruction] but got talked into it. I got so badly infected that one expander found its way out, and when I ended up in emergency surgery, I halted the whole process. Never got to the foob [fake boob] stage, and I was so relieved it was over.”

Another woman, 66, shared that, while she told her surgeon she wanted to stay flat after her double mastectomy, he warned her she “would regret it.” He directed her to talk to a plastic surgeon, who then persuaded her to do expanders and implants. That led to chronic pain during a year in which she also endured chemo and radiation, eventual capsular contracture, two emergency surgeries for incisions that kept opening, and finally, her decision to explant. “I am now very concave on one side because the expanders pushed in my ribcage,” she said. “I am still in pain from scar tissue from all of the surgeries I have had.”

Be a self-advocate

Pusic, the chief of plastic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, stressed the importance of patients’ understanding all their options when facing mastectomy surgery.

“I personally think breast reconstruction is not the right thing for every woman,” she says. “What I feel strongly about is that every woman should be provided with the option of reconstruction and also an understanding of the expected outcomes. That, to me, is more key. Because what we don’t want to see is a woman who wishes to have reconstruction and either isn’t fully informed about it or isn’t provided with the ability.” (To that end, the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act, signed into federal law in 1998, has required most group insurance plans that cover mastectomies to also cover breast reconstruction.) If the decision to reconstruct is too much to handle in the moment of treatment, Pusic points out, delayed breast reconstruction “is very much a viable option.”

Women should be encouraged to ask questions, she adds, until they find the choice that best suits them. “It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all,” Pusic says. “Breast reconstruction options really need to be fit to a woman’s own values and preferences, so it’s not like there’s one route.” On a hopeful note, she says, “I think we [as surgeons] are actually paying a lot more attention to patient-reported outcomes, with less of a stance of ‘if my photo looks good after surgery then that’s success.’ I think we’re really trying to understand outcomes from the patient perspective.”

Attai tells patients to make sure they ask all their questions. “And if you’re not getting them answered in a format that you’re comfortable with, go get a second opinion. It’s OK,” she emphasizes. “I do think it’s important as the flat movement is getting more popular,”  to understand what’s realistic, as “there are times when it’s not possible to get a completely flat result,” she says. “If you have a patient who is obese, with a larger breast, it’s going to be very challenging.”

Beth Dupree, a Sedona, Ariz.-based breast surgeon who is also board certified in integrative and holistic medicine, says that while she would never pressure a patient to reconstruct, she too feels strongly about presenting all sides. “When someone says, ‘I’m not interested in reconstruction at all, I say, ‘That’s good, but you still have to talk to the plastic surgeon. I need you to have the tools. Twenty to 30 percent of the time, women come back and say, ‘Oh wow, I want it.” Others say, ‘I still don’t want it, but thank you for giving me the information I needed.’ Knowledge is power.”

All the surgeons interviewed for this article believe that a shift within the medical community is occurring, if slowly, to focus on better informing and empowering patients on their options. “There’s also a swing … where for so many years, women weren’t being offered reconstruction, and were depressed and anxiety ridden,” Dupree says. “So it’s a pendulum thing. And we’ve got to come back to the middle.”

Support breast cancer research by making a donation and/or shopping these products:

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BCA: Give back with these products

Aerie Bright Pink Play High Neck Sports Bra, $29.95

Aerie Bright Pink Move High Waisted 7/8 Legging, $44.95

100% of sales will be donated to Bright Pink from September 27, 2018 through October 31, 2018.

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WESTEND WYNDHAM RIDGE PINK, $41.97 (orig. $69.95) 

DiscountGlasses.com, a national online optical retailer, will include all of their pink eyeglasses, sunglasses and reading glasses for a 10% donation from October 1st to October 31st. 

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The Daily Edited personalized accessories 

For each phone case sold, $20 will be donated, for each pouch sold, $30 will be donated and for each bag sold, $40 will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Association.

Athleta A-C Everyday Bra, $54

Any Athleta bra purchased from October 2 to October 15 will be matched in donation of an Empower Bra (up to 2,500) to UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center for post-mastectomy women who are looking to incorporate activity in their recovery.

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C’est Moi Beauty Luminary Lip Crayon, $9.99

The EWG-verified beauty brand C’est Moi is donating 20% of the October proceeds from all their lip products to the American Cancer Society.

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Kendra Scott necklace

For the month of October, Kendra Scott is launching a 'giveback suite' of products (10/1-10/31), which includes candles, charms, and pieces of jewelry, which give 20% of proceeds back to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)

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Manduka project:om equa® hot yoga mat - all the flowers by david allen, $150

Manduka launched a limited edition Yogitoes towel and eQua mat, which David Allen, mastectomy tattoo artist, has designed in his signature floral motif, similar to the floral tattoos he creates to cover mastectomy scars. A portion of the proceeds will go to Susan G. Komen to support breast cancer research.

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Amazing Cosmetics SMOOTH Blender, $14

To help celebrate, AmazingCosmetics will be donating 15% of all sales from each purchase of their newly launched SMOOTH Blender to Chicago based charity the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation

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Pax Philomena Elephant Scarf, $33

15% of each purchase is donated to Young Survival Coalition for breast cancer research. 

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Mignonne Gavigan Sasha Earrings in Mauve,  $275

30% of net proceeds of these gorgeous earrings will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation this October. 

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BELLA SCHNEIDER BEAUTY DETOXIFYING & REJUVENATING SELF-HEATING MASK, $58

Bella Schneider Beauty is donating 20% of the October proceeds from their Detoxifying & Rejuvenating Self-Heating Mask with Cranberry, Grapeseed Oil & Linoleic Acid to the American Cancer Society

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Jemma Sands MUSTIQUE rose quartz earrings, $125

This October, Jemma Sands will donate 100% of proceeds from select products (including these earrings) to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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 Ora Delphine Adele Satchel, $425

75% of sales from the Adele Satchel in Coral will be donated to Susan G. Komen.

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ALEX AND ANI’s Pink Tulips Charm Bangle, $38

ALEX AND ANI’s Pink Tulips Charm Bangle ($38) symbolizes care in good times and bad, while brightening the spirit in others with its rosy hue and hopeful aroma. The charm bangle benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s mission to fund the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer. Twenty percent of the purchase price of each bracelet will be donated directly to the BCRF through ALEX AND ANI’s CHARITY BY DESIGN program.

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Krochet Kids Rosie headband, $28

Krochet Kids is partnering with The Breast Cancer Charities of Americain donating a beanie for every purchase made for the duration of October. The BCCA will take these donates beanies and distribute them to individuals battling breast cancer in hospitals across the US.

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Venus ET Fleur Lé Mini Pink Round Arrangement, $39

20% of sales from this arrangement are being donated to City of Hope.

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GHD Lulu Gold Styler, $199

$5 from every purchase will be donated to the Ulta Beauty Charitable Foundation to support BCRF.

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Naked Cashmere LOVE scarf, $165

Naked Cashmere has extended, and expanded, its charity partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) with the rollout of its new seasonal LOVE collection. The brand will donate $50 for every purchase of its special LOVE scarf, rendered in 100% cashmere with “LOVE” embroidered on it, in three colors: antique pink, chalk and nude ($165). Naked Cashmere will concurrently donate $25 for each purchase of its newly launched items, also in 100% cashmere: Puff LOVE slippers ($95), LOVE gloves ($85), and LOVE pom-pom beanie ($95). 

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Lulu DK Survivor and Strength Flip Collection, $68-$78

20% of sales from the Survivor and Strength Flip Collections goes to breast cancer research funding through the BCRF Foundation 

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APL Techloom Bliss running shoe in power pink, $200

The limited-edition style is available for men and women and features a BCA Satin Ribbon as a pull tab. 20% of the gross sales for each pair sold within the next year will be donated to the Women’s Cancer Research Fund.

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Lane Bryant Awareness Stud Earrings 3-pack, $14.95

10% of proceeds (up to $200,000) will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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S'well Bikini Pink with Silver Cap, $35

S'well has been a partner of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® since 2015, and to date has funded over 700+ hours of research. This October, S’well is donating 20% of the retail price of Bikini PinkPink Topaz and Geode Rose to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. BCRF’s mission is to advance the world’s most promising research to eradicate breast cancer.

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Brahmin LANE BCA COLLECTION, $245

Available during the month of October, 10% of proceeds online will benefit NBCF, and in-store customers can donate $5 to receive 20% off their purchase.

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AZAZIE BONNIE Bridesmaid Dress, $119

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Azazie is partnering with NBCF for the entire month of October to donate 10% from sales of its bridesmaid dresses in three colors: Blushing Pink, Pearl Pink, and Candy Pink. 

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Stone and Strand limited edition ombre pink sapphire band, $325

20% of sales during the entire month of October will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Jack Rogers Pink Jacks Flat Sandal, $148

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now through October 31st, Jack Rogers will donate a percentage sales of the exclusive sandals to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Zaman RISE & SHINE SERUM, $65

Zaman Skincare is donating 30% of the October proceeds from their luxury face serums to the American Cancer Society in search for the cure.

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Ralph Lauren 'Live Love' graphic tee, $68

100% of the purchase price for the new pink “Live Love” graphic tee, and 25% of the purchase price from the sale of every other item in the collection will be donated to the Pink Pony Fund of The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation and to an international network of cancer charities.

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Barefoot Blonde Rose Gold Fill-Ins, $59.99

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Barefoot Blonde Hair founder Amber Fillerup, will be releasing a limited edition collection of the Fill-Ins in Rose Gold, with all proceeds going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 

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David Yurman Pink Pearl Diamond limited edition Solari bracelet, $595

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, David Yurman is donating twenty percent of the proceeds from the Solari bracelet to benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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The Bouqs Company bouquets, $42-$84

The Bouqs Company is partnering with The Pink Agenda to donate 20% of the purchase price from a special collection of pink Bouqs to support breast cancer research. 

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EF Collection Pink Sapphire Pendant

With the launch of the pink pendant for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, EF Collection will donate 20% of sales to Susan G. Komen for the month of October.

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dressbarn LUXE BY CARMEN MARC VALVO FLORAL SQUARE NECK DRESS, $69.95

dressbarn has again collaborated with Carmen Marc Valvo for a third consecutive year on a special edition collection for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). They will be donating 50% of the purchase price of each product up to $50,000 and customers can also make a donation of $1 or more in all dressbarn stores. 

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C.O. Bigelow Freesia Candle, $42

One of the brand’s most popular perfume oils provided inspiration for this soft floral scent featuring a heart of Tart Quince, Jasmine, Pink Freesia and Tender Muguet. All year long, C.O. Bigelow Donates 10% of all sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Privé Revaux The Escobar, $29.95

50% of proceeds from pink sunglasses The EscoberCandyThe ArtistThe Georgian, will benefit Susan G. Komen during the month of October.

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Saucony Unity Kinvara 9, $120

Saucony has partnered with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation to create a limited edition Unity Kinvara 9, of which 20% of each sale will be donated to help fund Dr. Susan Love's pioneering research into the causes and treatment of breast cancer.

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Yummie Scoop Neck Bra, $17

For the month of October, Yummie will be giving 5% of net proceeds from bra sales to breast cancer research. 

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Johnny Was BED OF ROSES SCARF, $98

Johnny Was will be donating 100% of the proceeds for their silk scarves to Susan G Komen during the month of October.

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Gorjana Power Gemstone Pink Jade Studs, $38

On October 3rd, gorjana will be donating 20% of proceeds from the entire day (across all 8 stores and ecomm) to Susan G. Komen

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Meshki HOPE CROP TOP, $32.07

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Meshki, the Australian-based line, has designed two exclusive styles with the positive messages of empowerment and hope that will be available for sale on Meshki's website from Oct 17th, with 100% of the profits going towards two very special charities; One Girl & National Breast Cancer Association.

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Lulu Dharma Velvet Vintage Weekender Bag, $99

30% of sales from select items will be donated to Dr. Susan Love Foundation.

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Koral Lustrous Capri Legging, $75

LA based apparel brand Koral has partnered with Keep-A-Breast & will be donating 25% of the proceeds from their Lustrous Capri Legging (in the Carmine colorway), Advanced Bra (in the Carmine colorway), and Villa Tencel Jersey Tank (in the White colorway) to the organization throughout the entire month of October. 

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Skylar perfume, $78

For every bottle purchased, Skylar will be donating $10 to breast cancer research. 

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The Last Line Ruby Diamond Earring, $1,295

The Last Line is donating 15 percent of proceeds from select styles to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation during the month of October!

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Catherines No-Wire Cotton Comfort Bra in Powerful Pink ($33) and matching boyshorts ($11)

10% of proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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Manic Panic JEM Amplified Hair Color in Pink, $10

This October, 100% of the proceeds of MANIC PANIC’s JEM Amplified Hair Color in Pink for the month of October will be donated to CANCERLAND, a media platform focused on changing the conversation about breast cancer through the honest voices of real individuals living with the disease.

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Like A Virgin Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque, $44.90

During the month of October, Coco & Eve is donating 20% of profits to CoppaFeel, helping to educate society on breast cancer, and empowering people to begin healthy habits for life.

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Sticky Be Socks "Be Brave" Breast Cancer Awareness Socks, $15

A portion of October sales on all “Be Brave” sock purchases will be donated to a BCA foundation helping people of all genders who are impacted by breast cancer.

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Magnolia and Vine Breast Cancer Awareness Set, $29.99

10% of sales from the Breast Cancer Awareness Set will be donated to the Young Survivor Coalition.

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Lilly Pulitzer Alden Dress, $158

Lilly Pulitzer is teaming up with Bright Pink to save women's lives from breast and ovarian cancer.

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Athleta Empower Bra, $54

Made for "athletes powering through breast cancer recovery," any bra purchased up until October 15 will be matched in donation of an Empower Bra to UCSF’s Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center for post-mastectomy women who are looking to incorporate activity in their recovery.

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Fite blush crew neck, $120

The tee is available for preorder now and the company is donating 20% of pre-order sales through November 8th to Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, a San Francisco-based charity

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Beyond Proper BREAST CANCER WOMEN'S TEE, $24.50

During the month of October, 95% of proceeds from the sale of Beyond Proper’s Beyond Strong Tee will go to The Donna Foundation. In addition to financially supporting those living with breast cancer, DF also funds ground-breaking research working in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic.  

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Bella Dahl Slouchy Sweater, $119

Bella Dahl has partnered with The Pink Fund for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and will donate a portion of the proceeds from the Blush Slouchy Sweater. 

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Nalho Ganika Velvet Light in Pink, $52

Nalho will donate 50 percent of proceeds to BCAA for the Ganika Velvet shoes in light pink. 

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Nirvana Designs Rutland Beanie, $50

Nirvana Designs is donating 15 percent of all their pink items to their Susan G. Komen Foundation. 

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