A daughter has invented a new ‘fake boob’ to help women recovering from a mastectomy – after watching her cancer-hit mum struggle with her ‘chicken fillet’.
Sam Jackman, 39, came up with the design after hearing her mother complain about her ‘hot’ and ‘uncomfortable’ prothesis following a mastectomy.
Sam, from Calstock, Cornwall, wanted to design a breast form that ‘didn’t just imitate a breast’, but could allow people to express themselves with their favourite colours or funky designs, all whilst being comfortable and staying in place.
Her mother, Susan Jackman, 63, struggled to continue her day-to-day activities with her NHS prosthesis, as it was hot, sweaty and awkward to wear – an experience shared by countless others according to Sam.
Sam, a former teacher and heritage consultant said: “My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer seventeen years ago.
”Thankfully, she recovered after chemo, radiotherapy and surgery – but she had to have a mastectomy.
“The chicken fillet she was given was really awkward and she absolutely hated it.
”She was a cleaner and wanted to go back to work, but found it impossible to do with the fillet she had.
“I’d order loads of other ones from the internet over the years, but they were all the same – awkward, uncomfortable, and horrible looking.
“One morning she came in and said ‘I just don’t understand why it has to look like that,’ and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“All breast forms seem to be trying to replace and mimic the breast someone’s lost, when really all she wanted was something to stop her clothes twisting about.
“With other prosthetics, like legs, the primary concern isn’t that it looks like a real leg, it’s that it’s functional – so why isn’t it the same for breasts?
“Why does it have to look like a beige horrible thing, why can’t it be leopard print or glittery or someone’s favourite colour?”
Sam started her business, Boost, in 2018, but struggled to secure investment until December 2021.
She began selling her funky designs during first Covid lockdown, in Spring 2020, when she saw an outcry from breast cancer survivors who were unable to obtain a bra fittings as they were classed as ‘non-essential’ appointments.
Since she began selling the lighter, open structured breast formed, Sam has been shortlisted as one of the top 10 highly-commended businesses in the Nat West and Daily Telegraph 100 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch list.
She said: “I’ve had such amazing feedback from people who have used the product, and their loved ones too.
“At the beginning I thought our main customer base would be young people who wanted to show off a funky mould, but actually there’s a lot of older customers who are just so sick of these horrible chicken fillets they’ve had to put up with for years.
“We’ve also had a lot of women of colour who find their options on the NHS are really limited – they only have about three or four colours and their stockroom is geared towards white women.
“But our forms aren’t about that at all, they can just get their favourite colour or a cool pattern.
“My favourite memory is when a friend of one of our customers messaged me and thanked us for giving her friend back.
“They used to go swimming all the time, but hadn’t for two years after her mastectomy, but once she got a Boost form she could go again, it was a lovely story.
“I hope this can continue to grow and we can carry on reaching women who are looking for an alternative and can empower themselves in whatever way they choose.”