Debbie Bowers, of Bethlehem, Pa., was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and had a double mastectomy. Rebecca Pine was diagnosed in 2009 with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy.

Cancer is not just a killer. It is a thief.

“Yes, it’s a loss,” said Pine. “It’s certainly a loss. And you learn to deal with it in whatever way you can.”

Each of the women Braver met, ranging in age from 34 to 51, has lost breasts to cancer. And it’s how these women chose to deal with their loss that is sparking conversation.

They call it “going flat.” Instead of replacing their curves with surgical implants, these women are embracing their scars, even baring them publicly.

“I never saw anybody like me,” said Bowers. “I never heard about anybody like me.”

Melanie Testa said she had never met a “flat” person before. “Like, ‘I don’t get it. Where are you?’”

That was how Testa felt six years ago when she chose not to have reconstructive surgery or to wear removable breast forms. “For me, I just don’t want to present two bodies. I don’t want to walk out of my home with a breasted body, and then return to my home and remove my breast and then have a flat body.

“I didn’t choose to go flat; it chose me,” said Marianne Duquette Quoso. “That’s how I look at it.”