By Susan Marquez
For most women, shopping is a preferred activity. Getting together with girlfriends and trying on beautiful clothes is something most women look forward to. But for a woman who’s had to deal with cancer, there’s little joy in a leisurely shopping trip. Yet, in the middle of a sterile hospital environment, there’s a cozy little boutique that has cancer patients excited about shopping once again.
The first of its kind in the Jackson area, the St. Dominic’s Cancer Boutique offers products and services that help minimize the effects of cancer therapy. Cancer patients have unique issues and needs, and the boutique has products to make their lives more comfortable. The boutique first opened in July 2013, in the back of the Spa at St. Dominic’s, but has since moved to a new, larger location in the main hospital, on the first floor across from the lab.
The boutique is committed to the community of cancer and breast cancer patients with a remarkably tranquil area for all their prosthesis, garment, and personal care needs. In the boutique, patients experience one-on-one comforting care. Caitlin Smith and Angela Lewis have been co-managers of the boutique since it opened. “We want our customers to feel comfortable when they come here,” said Smith. “I think our new location is wonderful and everyone seems to love it.”
Specializing in mastectomy forms, boutique personnel offer gentle care for mastectomy patients. Patients and survivors feel more comfortable in the private fitting room, and they can be assured of a perfect fit with the services of a professional mastectomy fitter. A full line of mastectomy bras, mastectomy prosthetics, and breast forms are available. And because many people choose to remain active post-mastectomy, there is mastectomy swimwear and exercise wear. With a full line of headscarves, there is also a private room for all headwear needs.
The boutique also carries items such as lymphedema sleeves, DermaQol Skincare, wicking garments for night sweats, and therapeutic creams, as well as a large assortment of surgical garments, comfortable post-surgical pajamas, and specialty gift items. Each item is carefully selected to helping cancer patients and survivors look and feel their best before, during, and after cancer treatment, and each comes with the compassionate care that the St. Dominic’s staff is famous for.
The idea to open the cancer boutique came to a former director of retail services at St. Dominic’s after she had a personal experience with someone who had a mastectomy. She realized that there was a tremendous need in the market for a place where women could go have their mastectomy needs met in a peaceful, cozy setting.
Many patients first find out about the boutique from their doctor. “Our doctors are wonderful,” said Smith. “They are great about referring customers to us. A patient must have a prescription for a mastectomy prosthetic, and we’ll file insurance for them. We work to make it as easy as possible for them. We keep it all in-house so that the patient doesn’t have to drive all over town.” The boutique is open to everyone, and Smith says that often people will come in to purchase “happies” for a friend or family member. “We have all kinds of gifts, including cancer scarves and hats. We also have lots of really pretty stuff.”
The St. Dominic’s Cancer Boutique is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call the boutique at 601.200.5111.