Certified Mastectomy Fitter Opens in Anchorage
Laura Dewitt expanded her mastectomy fitting boutique, Allies, from Bellingham, Washington to Anchorage.
Breast cancer survivors in Alaska now have easier access to a certified mastectomy fitter, who provides garments and accessories to restore body shape. The Anchorage branch of Allies, a boutique based in Bellingham, Washington, is inviting appointments during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Alaska or Bust
Laura DeWitt, a certified mastectomy fitter since 2014, opened Allies in Anchorage in 2021. She discovered a need for her services a few years ago after an Alaskan visited her Bellingham shop. Through that appointment, DeWitt learned that breast cancer survivors in Alaska did not have appropriate access to certified mastectomy fitters and the products they provide, such as breast forms and pocket bras.
“That got me thinking about ways that I could serve the women of Alaska,” Dewitt says.
Dewitt is a breast cancer survivor herself. “My mom was diagnosed at 42,” she says. “My aunt was diagnosed at 42, and so was I.”
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, DeWitt searched for mastectomy supplies in her community but could not find what she was looking for. It was hard to find local providers trained to conduct breast form fittings, and post-surgery breast supplies were offered in a setting that was neither private nor personalized.
“In certain regions, women have to travel for hours to access a fit specialist,” DeWitt says, “or they have to shop for breast supplies alongside mobility devices like wheelchairs and walkers.”
That did not sit well with DeWitt, so she decided to provide a more personalized, sophisticated approach to helping fellow breast cancer survivors. Through her specialty boutique, she provides women with nonsurgical products—breast forms and pocket bras—that return symmetry after mastectomy, lumpectomy, and reconstruction procedures.
“I chose the name Allies because I wanted women to know that they have an ally, a safe and comfortable place to go when they need breast products.”
Allies is a rarity as a Medicare and Medicaid provider and is in-network with most major insurance providers.
Breast forms and pocket bras require a doctor’s order to be covered by insurance.
Allies quickly began receiving referrals from Alaska Regional Hospital and Providence Alaska Medical Center physicians as well as doctors from major oncology and family care clinics.
“It feels really good to know that we are providing a valuable service to breast cancer survivors in this region,” DeWitt says.
In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Allies is hosting a “Here for YOU, Alaska!” fit event October 31 through November 4.
Appointments, which can be scheduled through alliesretail.com, include a three-step process: measurement, a fit evaluation that helps women choose the right breast form for their body type, and then bra selection. The sessions typically last about 45 minutes.
DeWitt says she tries to keep the process of purchasing mastectomy supplies as easy as possible.
“All a client needs to provide is their contact information, insurance provider, and the name of their physician, and we take it from there,” she says.
Like prescription medications, a doctor’s order for a mastectomy fitting and related supplies is required to qualify for insurance coverage. Each doctor’s order lasts twelve months. During that time, a client may “refill” a supply of bras based on insurance provider allowances. After twelve months, a new fitting is required.
“By opening a mastectomy supply store in Anchorage, a certified mastectomy fitter will be here to help women order their first breast form, and we’ll be here to provide supplies and fittings in the future,” DeWitt says.