PUBLISHED ON: 13 December 2020

After a mastectomy, Fiona made the decision to get an implant. She explains how it has helped her move forward from breast cancer.

Fiona Maunder

I didn't want it to affect my fitness

A year after my initial breast cancer diagnosis, I met with my surgeon to talk about reconstruction: something I had in mind since the beginning. For me, the most viable option was an implant.  

Generally, they place the implant under the chest muscle, giving it a more natural look. But I didn’t want any option that would or could affect my fitness activities, and I had read that this option can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. 

So, with all this in mind, we decided the implant over the chest muscle would be best for me. 

It's not a 'free boob job'

Having an implant is a big decision. In fact, making the decision to have breast reconstruction is not an easy one and not for everyone. And no, it’s not a free boob job! That is a cosmetic procedure, this is an attempt to regain some sort of normalcy after a traumatic, life-changing event: breast cancer.   

We decided that I would delay my surgery until after I completed the Great North Run which I was doing in September 2018 for Breast Cancer Now. 

I knew exactly what was going to happen and – in the grand scheme of things – it’s not a big operation. But my worrying mind was working overtime. 

Am I doing the right thing? 

What if I hate it? 

Is all this time and effort worth it? 

The end result was amazing 

This first stage was to have an expander placed under my skin on top of my chest muscle. And it does exactly as it sounds: expands the skin, making a pocket for the implant to go in later. It is hard and rigid compared to an implant. It took a while to get used to the feeling of it, and sometimes it was uncomfortable and painful. 

Over a period of months, I gradually had the expander filled. To go from being totally flat to having something that kinda looked like a boob was amazing.  

A dear friend of mine said to me before the process that I needed to look at things a little differently. That I couldn’t go into this with a sense of perfection. I can’t compare it to my breast from before cancer because that has gone – but because of that I am still here and alive. 

You can read more about Fiona’s experiences on her blog or check out her Instagram for updates. 


If you or someone you know is going through breast cancer, the Christmas period can be an especially difficult time. We are here to help. 

Even if you have already finished treatment, moving on can be difficult. Download our Becca app for tips, advice and more stories from people like Fiona.


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