Wendy Smith is giving breast cancer patients and survivors comfort, confidence and choice.
A certified prosthetist and clinical anaplastologist, Smith is the founder and president of Bressanté, developing breast prosthesis for women who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy or other type of breast surgery.
On Tue., Feb. 11, Bressanté opened its new head office and first retail location at 8-2536 Main St.
“There are a lot of problems associated with reconstructive surgery. When it works, it’s fantastic, it’s the ultimate, but unfortunately it doesn’t always work,” said Smith, 53.
“This is a personal choice. Each woman is an individual, and they have to make the choice that’s best for them. By having better prosthetic options, it gives them more choice.”
Linda Perrin, 58, a Southdale resident and breast cancer survivor, is a client of Bressanté. After being diagnosed in 2007, Perrin met with Smith, who she said was very caring and took a comfortable, non-clinical approach.
In addition to comfortable service, Perrin said she received a comfy product.
“I love my breast prosthesis. It’s very comfortable, it’s lightweight, and there’s no perspiring. To me it feels like I didn’t lose my breasts and that’s pretty important,” Perrin said.
“My mother has also had breast cancer and wore the old-style prosthesis, which was very heavy. Everyday she’d take it off, (she’d say) ‘I can’t stand wearing this thing.’ Now, she has one of Wendy’s and wears it all day long.”
Smith, who is also the owner of Lifeart Prosthetics Inc., developing prosthetic devices such as hands, fingers, ears and toes, has over 30 years of prosthetic experience, working as a staff prosthetist at Health Sciences Centre for 15 years.
With Bressanté, Smith said she wants to create breast prosthetics that are not only better than previous options, but also more accessible.
“You can order a personal casting kit and do it in the comfort of your home, so where you are geographically doesn’t matter. You could potentially get a custom prosthesis without ever leaving your home,” Smith said.
“Also, they can make an appointment with me and I can fit them. They can get alterations. They can get fashion advice. We’re actually developing a clothing line that’s geared towards women who have had breast surgery.”
Recently, Smith was awarded a U.S. patent for a method of manufacturing breast prosthesis. She said she wants to continue innovating and developing better prosthetics, because a breast cancer diagnosis “doesn’t mean a death sentence.”
“It doesn’t mean your life is over, so don’t get rid of all your pretty stuff,” Smith said. “Talk to someone so you really know what your options are, early on, and then you can make an informed decision.
“Our designer is creating a fashion line called Beyond Moments, because breast cancer is just a moment and then you move on. That’s what we’re all about.”