Good care can make a big difference in a patient’s recovery following major surgery, such as a mastectomy. Radiation oncologist Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, MD, watched her mom endure breast cancer and later underwent a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction herself.
The Harvard-educated doctor felt that while surgeries and treatments have advanced over the years, recovery products were archaic. In 2011, she founded Masthead, formerly known as BFFL Co., to help women (and men) recover from breast cancer. “‘I’ve been through it; I can help you’ was really my guiding principle,” explains Thompson.
Her Scarsdale-based company sells patient-friendly recovery and treatment products, including radiation kits, chemo packs, and bras for post-surgery and recovery. Colorful totes and duffel bags are carefully curated and packed with healthy snacks, toiletries, a comfort pillow for support, ginger candy to ward off nausea, and playing cards and games. The kits are designed to help patients feel dignified and empowered as they prepare for, undergo, and recover from surgery and other treatments. Masthead’s surgical bra is now sold in hospitals nationwide, but Thompson explains that the company’s growth is fueled by feedback and local support: “Because of this great community in Westchester, so many women are really benefiting from what we’re creating, and we know it, because we’ve been hearing from people — local people — who give us feedback, and that really sustains us.”