New "Knitted Knockers" help valley breast cancer survivors

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Breast cancer survivors can now benefit from a special partnership between a Chandler hospital and a Valley knitting store.

The Cancer Center at Chandler Regional Medical Center and Tempe Yarn and Fiber are offering free “knitted knockers.” These handmade prostheses are for women who have had mastectomies, but did not want reconstructive surgery.

“I just cannot believe the difference that they make they are so comfortable, you don't sweat in them it's just great,” said Cathy Oatfield, a breast cancer survivor.

Knitted knockers are softer and more comfortable than silicone prostheses. They also tend to be less expensive.

“They come in all different sizes, as you can see, all different colors. They're fun," added Oatfield.

Most survivors are fitted with a silicone prosthesis, but Oatfield said those aren't always comfortable.

“The bra rubs against the scar and with the knitted prosthesis it just doesn't seem to do that," she said. Oatfield also says the silicone can get hot, and hence, sweaty, in the Arizona heat.

“With the knitted I don't have that problem,” she added. “I actually forget that I have a problem there.”

If some women want a weighted prosthesis to feel more natural, they can choose one with a stone inside. Some of them even have words written on the stone for encouragement such as love and hope and all are hand-made by the volunteers and employees at Tempe Yarn and Fiber.

“We at Tempe Yarn decided to do this as a charity project,” said store owner Terry Neal. “We're helping people be comfortable at a time when they need comfort.”

For Neal, this is a way to combine passion with giving.

“It's a passion.  I do all of it, I knit, I crochet, I weave.  I like knitting, it relaxes me,” she said.

For Oatfield, it’s a source of comfort. Now she wants to help spread the word, so that other breast cancer survivors can take advantage of this new service as well.

“I think if word could get out that these are being made,” she said. “It's phenomenal. It's so comfortable.”

If you or someone you know would like to take advantage of these FREE “knitted knockers,” please contact Jane Breitenfeld, at 480.728.3633 or e-mail her at