DALLAS-Recently, we were introduced to a “state-of-the-art” breast prosthesis available to women who’ve had mastectomies. We paid particularly close attention when we were told that one out of nine women who read D will have breast cancer.

It was then that Gloria McCall Godat unwrapped a putty-colored blob that had as much resemblance to a woman’s breast as a sandwich bag filled with Jell-O. Next, she placed a firmer, more naturally shaped form down beside it. The major drawback to the first prosthesis (besides the fact that it has no nipple and that its plastic-wrap coating suffocates underlying skin) is that if it is punctured, the woman is left with a goopy mess of silicone.

Then Godat brought out a gift box that contained a natural-feeling and natural-looking replica of a woman’s left breast, size 34B. “Close To You,” as the prosthesis is called, is the creation of German inventor Bodo Knoche and is being marketed, with the help of Godat, for the first time in the United States by Karen and Charles Lattimore of Dallas. Although it’s popular in Europe, Close to You is virtually unknown in the United States. It is being endorsed locally by the Arlington Cancer Treatment Center’s Dr. George Blumenschein, who is the former chief of medical breast services at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, and by Dr. Morris J. Fogelman, a soft-tissue surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital.

Karen Lattimore, a victim of breast cancer and an active fundraiser for cancer research, wears Close To You. She says that when she discovered the product, she felt compelled to tell other women about it.

The $250 prosthesis comes in white, brown and black skin tones and has a 30-month guarantee. Close To You is available in sizes 26 to 50, and each weighs the same as its natural breast counterpart. It doesn’t shift under clothes, and there are tiny holes along the bottom edge that allow for ventilation. The prosthesis can also be trimmed to fit the line of favorite bras or bathing suits.

Close To You is sold at the new retail store of the same name at 4343 W. Northwest Hwy., Suite 380 (phone 263-6420). Women can come to the store for a fitting or call to arrange a fitting in their homes. Store manager Janet Burkley is currently hiring saleswomen who have nursing experience or women who have had personal experience with breast disease. Part of the proceeds from sale of the protheses will benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a local foundation dedicated to the eradication of breast cancer.


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