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Every intimate garment does not fit every woman, especially after breast cancer.  Dana Donofree experienced this first-hand. She started her entrepreneurial journey to not only design a beautiful bra that fit her but to empower other women to find confidence in their body and feel sexy after living with breast cancer.

About Dana

Dana is young, vibrant, energetic, and empowering women daily.  Her journey is not the typical experience you would expect for a 37-year-old.

She always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27 that her current journey presented itself.  Dana’s journey will inspire you to be your own healthcare advocate, start facing your fears, and take action. She will enlighten you on breast cancer awareness and action you need to take to be your own advocate.

Dana Donofree interviewed on The Second Phase Podcast. On the podcast graphic is a photo of Dana smiling wearing a black off the shoulder tee with the word fearless on it. Dana is smiling and looking straight at the camera.

Talking about Breast Cancer and The Changes Women Experience

After Dana had reconstructive surgery 10 years ago, she couldn’t find a bra that fit and quickly discovered that there were very few young women that she could ask for advice or support.  She finally found a middle-aged breast cancer survivor who gave her the opportunity to begin having the much-needed conversations.  It was through these conversations that Dana learned that options were limited and she wasn’t the only woman struggling to find comfort and feel sexy again.

Not only did Dana begin creating beautiful intimates for herself and other women with breast cancer, but she also opened the door for difficult conversations and has been empowering other women since.

Ana Ono

Dana’s brand began with a mission to create comfortable bras that didn’t have underwire or molded cups.  Traditional bras do not fit post-mastectomy.  She quickly realized that the world needed bra options for many other reasons such as open-heart surgery, shoulder surgery, and even young girls whose breasts are developing at different rates.  Ana Ono now provides the options that women around the world need to feel comfortable, confident, and sexy in their own skin.

The Entrepreneurial Journey 

Dana’s journey as an entrepreneur started when she was very young.   She is a fashion designer and always had the goal of having her own clothing line.

Dana recommends that if you have dreams and goals, you should live life the way you want to, push fear aside, and do what you want to do.  Don’t wait until there is a life event to push you into doing what you dream of because time is running out.  If you have an idea, don’t stop before you start. There is a way to find financing and make your dream come to life.

Start with a personal brand and craft your messaging from there. 

Breast Cancer Awareness and Action

Although great strides have been made in breast cancer awareness and treatment, there is much work that needs to be done.  We now need more action than awareness.  We know breast cancer exists. It is the second leading cause of death in women. Awareness is no longer the issue.

One in eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer.   Over 40,000 people are being buried each year because of the disease.  Men get breast cancer too.

Breast cancer is a real threat to lives and it is truly an epidemic.  Years of life have been lost focusing on awareness versus taking action to create new and better treatments.

The increase in awareness has helped with earlier diagnoses. However, since the advent of COVID, breast cancer diagnoses are down 50%.  That doesn’t mean that the incidence has gone down, it means that people aren’t going to the doctor and aren’t getting mammograms.  If people aren’t getting diagnosed, the disease will be more advanced upon diagnosis, and there will be less time for treatment.

Research Funding for Breast Cancer Treatment

Billions of dollars have been raised because of the pink ribbons we see on products, but chances are that the money raised is not funding the necessary research for treatment. The money is funding awareness.  But it’s research that saves lives.

Of funds raised, only two to three percent go towards research for the treatment of metastatic stage 4 breast cancer. Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is the only breast cancer that kills.  Early diagnosis doesn’t mean you survive.  People with an early breast cancer diagnosis have a one in three chance of advancing to metastatic disease.  Breast cancer is not cured.

Organizations that Fund Research

Metavivor is an organization that puts 100% of donations towards cancer research.  Larger organizations have so much power, but they aren’t using the funding for research.  It’s a disadvantage because, without research, there is no advancement in treatment or a cure.

The median life span of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is 36 months.   That is not a stat we should accept and do nothing about.

Three Pillars of Supporting Breast Cancer Patients

There are three areas of support needed for patients with breast cancer.  The three areas are:

  1. Funding Support for Research
  2. Emotional support for patients
  3. Financial support for patients

Living Beyond Breast Cancer is one such organization in the Philadelphia area that provides the aforementioned support for breast cancer patients. Many communities have local organizations that provide similar services and support.

Early Identification of Breast Cancer

It is important to note that mammograms are not perfect identification tools.  Only 7 to 10 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are made from the results of mammograms.   This statistic is not based on patients who found a lump first, these are stats for patients having a routine screening.

Note that you are your best detection tool.  Mark your calendar for the same day every month so that your breasts will feel the same based on your cycle.   If you feel a change, such as a lump, skin irritation, discharge from the nipple, itching, or heat, call your doctor.  Should your doctor dismiss your concern, do not take the answer “it’s nothing”.

Follow your gut and push for answers.  Be your own advocate.  See another doctor and ask for a scan, an ultrasound, and/or a mammogram.  Do not take no for an answer and be your own advocate. You must fight for yourself to ensure you receive an early diagnosis.

To learn more about your host, Robyn Graham, click HERE
Learn more about and connect with Dana:




Living Beyond Breast Cancer:





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