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The Globe and Mail

The emotional toll of a heavy chest: When torment leads to breast reduction surgery

Big breasts aren't all they're sized up to be. Just ask twins Tanesha and Tiwan Sweet, who have shared many things, including their bra size: 40G.

That is, up until a few weeks ago. After years of harassment, the 42-year-old sisters decided to reduce their bountiful chests, ABC News reported.

Just how bad was the bullying they suffered? "I used to work in a nursing home and a lot of the older men groped at me and touched me," Tanesha, who hails from Long Branch , N.J., told ABC News.

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"I always went to work wearing two bras and a sweat top, and I would never take it off, even if it was 90 degrees out."

But their experiences of sexual harassment weren't confined to the workplace. The sisters also say that going out in public was fraught with moments of humiliation. Prior to the surgery – which took out about 2.5 to 3 pounds of flesh per breast – the Sweets didn't even feel comfortable walking down the road because of the whispers and occasional gawking from cars. Their pre-surgery defence: Multiple bras and avoidance.

And all of these moments of embarrassment say nothing of the years of back pain their extra, extra large breasts caused them, which is the usual cause of breast reduction surgery.

"In our society, large breasts are considered desirable and sexy, and usually stories about breast reductions involve the patient having physical problems — back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain," wrote Dodai Stewart at Jezebel. "But large breasts can take an emotional toll, as well."

Escaping the weight of the breasts seems to have given the twins not just a renewed sense of confidence but also a new life.

"Shopping used to be a 'no.' But we're definitely looking forward to it now," Tanesha told, "and also a walk on the beach."

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