Mastectomy Patient Finds Needed Services in Brookings

  • October 27, 2014

Mastectomy Fitter Renia Arneson shows a camisole to Angie Pickering, a breast cancer survivor from Arlington who uses the products and services available at the Brookings Health System/Avera Home Medical Store.
Mastectomy Fitter Renia Arneson shows a camisole to Angie Pickering, a breast cancer survivor from Arlington who uses the products and services available at the Brookings Health System/Avera Home Medical Store.

An essential part of surviving breast cancer is learning to feel more comfortable with how you look in clothing. One of the first steps for women who have undergone a mastectomy is to locate an expert to help find the right size breast forms and bras.

Angie Pickering, a breast cancer survivor from Arlington, discovered the help she needed at Brookings Health System/Avera Home Medical Store in Brookings.

“I had driven by the store several times, but always thought it was just home medical supplies, like chairs and canes,” said Pickering. “Then one day I read about an open house featuring a new line of mastectomy products so I just dropped by.”

During her first visit, Pickering met Certified Mastectomy Fitter Renia Arneson.

“Right away, Renia recognized by the way my shoulders were hunched over that the first inserts I had gotten elsewhere were really not the correct type or size for me,” said Pickering. “I made an appointment to come back for a fitting during which Renia recommended a different style of inserts that were more light weight.”

According to Arneson, not all women choose to have reconstruction after surgery. And not all prosthetics match traditional bra sizes. A certified fitter is trained to account for these variables depending on the needs of the patient.   

“It is so important to have a well-fitting bra and camisole to act as good foundations for style and comfort,” said Arneson. “We've come a long way from the days when mastectomy bras all looked alike and the styles were clunky.”

Pickering says she appreciates the variety of products available including prosthesis, bras, camisoles, sleepwear and swimwear. If something is not in stock or if Pickering is curious about other options, Arneson calls the distributor or they look through the product catalogs to find other styles and color choices and order the items Pickering selects.  

“I would highly recommend the store because of the service and selection and also because it saves time,” said Pickering. “I don’t have to take a half day off work and drive three hours round trip to some other town. Plus, in Brookings, I can have a good conversation with people who care.”

For the past nine years the Swiftel Center, managed by VenueWorks, has coordinated the Brookings Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign and works with Brookings Health System Foundation to effectively disburse the funds. Some of the proceeds are earmarked to help uninsured and underinsured patients pay for post-mastectomy products purchased at Brookings Health System/Avera Home Medical Store.

The funds may also be applied to the cost of breast biopsies, breast ultrasounds and lymphedema therapy services received from Brookings Health System. Application forms are available at the store and at Brookings Health System Foundation, both located at 100 22nd Ave.

About Brookings Health System Foundation

The mission of Brookings Health System Foundation is “Inspiring people to support Brookings Health System through philanthropy, recognizing the vital role of local healthcare in sustaining quality of life in our community.” Gifts to the Foundation support charity health care for those less fortunate, health and wellness education, facility, equipment, and technology upgrades and other needs as they arise at Brookings Health System. For more information about Brookings Health System Foundation or how you may contribute, please contact Foundation Officer Barb Anderson at (605) 696-8855 or

About Brookings Health System

Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed The Neighborhoods at Brookview nursing home, Brookhaven Estates senior living apartments, Yorkshire Eye Clinic, Arlington Medical Center and White Medical Clinic. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, surgical and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at