Boutique for breast cancer patients opens in Coralville


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Two area businesses strive to make the lives of people with breast cancer a little bit easier by helping them feel more comfortable with their appearance after chemotherapy or surgery.

The University of Iowa Community Home Care opened Décolletage Perfect Fit Boutique, 2771 Oakdale Blvd. Suite 4, Coralville, on Oct. 15 to accommodate women who have undergone breast procedures.

“There wasn’t a store that carried a full line of breast prosthesis, so that’s why we started here,” said Danette Frauenholtz, the manager of the new boutique. ”We work with clients to make sure they’re feeling confident about their appearance.”

The same month the boutique opened, the UI Hospitals and Clinics premièred a new technology designed to test for breast cancer — digital tomosynthesis, Laurie Fajardo, the chairwoman of the Radiology Department, had previously told The Daily Iowan.

This technology — an advancement used for the first time in the UIHC — offers many images of a breast tissue, allowing doctors to see small details better though dense breast tissue.

With the advancements in technology in the UIHC, patients’ survival turns into clients’ post-cancer living and adjustments.

A recent study conducted by examining 30 years of government data states nearly 1 million women may have been “over diagnosed” for breast cancer, meaning the cancers detected through mammograms may not have been life-threatening.

Frauenholtz said the store opened due to the need for the services and the lack of availability for those services in the Iowa City area.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, surgeons performed roughly 93,000 reconstructive procedures for breast-cancer patients, but Frauenholtz offers an alternative for women seeking a less-invasive solution.

The boutique offers a full line of breast prosthesis, along with comfort clothing for post-surgery comfort of clients.

The new business carries a full stock of three companies in order to meet the need for swimwear, prosthesis, and clothing for the women.

But patients who have endured or are enduring breast cancer aren’t the only ones being served.

The certified fitter for the store has been doing breast fittings for 15 years — and serves women with different needs.

“We can fit women up through a cup size F,” Frauneholtz said.  “That’s not what you’re going to find at Kohl’s or Dilliard’s.”

Since the company’s opening last month, it has had seven fittings, along with a successful selling of retail sales in the accessories line sold at the boutique.

While technology in the UIHC continues to progress, working with the clients of the Décolletage Perfect Fit Boutique isn’t an exact science.

“It’s a lot of trial and error,” she said. “We want symmetry so both sides of their body are exactly alike, and you would never be able to tell one was a prosthetic breast.”

After the certified fitter provides services for the clients, the clients can head next door to Skin Deep, a local salon and spa specializing in oncology treatment.

Tracy Lacina, the only certified oncologist aesthetician in Iowa, works with two cosmetologists certified with the American Cancer Society on wig fittings and services.

Lacina provides gentle massages to help the skin recover following the purging of chemotherapy chemicals and toxins that exit through the skin, causing it to become flaky and irritated.

The salon has served more than 100 patients in the three years it has been opened, with many patients returning for post-treatment services.

Services such as these aren’t confined to the Iowa City and Coralville area.  Breast prosthesis can be found online at seemingly everyday stores — such as Walgreens and at specialty stores, like Nearly You.

While these services focus on aspects of cancer treatment aside from intensive chemotherapy, both Lacina and Frauenholtz focus on treatment outside the realm of hospitals.

“We focus on curing the cancer,” Lacina said. “… and we forget about the effect it has on the whole body.”

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