How To Prepare For Breast Cancer Surgery?

Updated: July 10, 2017

The diagnosis of breast cancer is very daunting and wreaks havoc with physical and emotional well being of patients. Many women face the prospect of change in appearance due to removal of one or both breasts. This causes not only physical distress but also emotional trauma.

Breast cancer is typically diagnosed with a surgical biopsy. Once the biopsy shows breast cancer, surgery is often recommended as first line of treatment. Even the best oncology surgeon in India may recommend routine blood tests and chest X-ray prior to this surgery.

In case of early cancer of the breast, surgery is the first and vital step for staging. The stage of your breast cancer determines line of treatment and helps you understand the severity of your cancer.

 Cancer surgery for early stage consists of removal of primary tumor by either mastectomy (removal of breasts) or lumpectomy (partial mastectomy). If breast cancer is invasive, a lymph node biopsy will be done. What procedure is adopted depends on your choice.

Questions For Your Surgeon:

Ask following relevant questions to the surgeon before surgery:

  • What is the period of my surgery?
  • Do I need hospitalization after surgery and for how long?
  • What limits are there for activities post surgery?
  • When will I be able to return to work?
  • How long will I need drains at the surgery spot?
  • How can I move my arm following surgery?
  • Who will clear any of my doubts or problems post surgery?
  • When will be the first post-operative visit to you?
  • How best to handle post-operative pain?
  • When to stop taking prescribed medicines before surgery and when to resume them?
  • When should I consult a physical therapist?
  • How can I arrange for care givers at home post the surgery?
  • What kind of special bra will I need after surgery?
  • In what manner do I take care of drains?
  • How will I wash my hair, bathe, or shower after surgery?
  • What should I do for wound care?
  • Will I need to apprise medical team about all current medication?

How To Pack For Hospital And What Arrangements To Make?

You need to arrange for:

  • Comfortable clothing.
  • Light entertainment for hospital stay like music, video games,,light reading etc.
  • Taking your living will
  • Small pillows to help with comfortable posture
  • Arrange for help from a friend or relative in early days after surgery.
  • Leaving jewelry and other valuable items at home.

On Day of Surgery:

  • Ensure you arrive on time.
  • Bring along reading glasses to go through official documents
  • Meet the anesthologist. Give her your complete medical history such as allergies.
  • In the pre-op area remove clothing, wear hospital gown and cap.
  • Medicine will be administered via IV to help you relax.
  • In the operating room, your oxygen and heart monitors will be in place.
  • You will be given anesthesia after which you will not remember anything.
  • Next you will wake up in the post-op facility.
  • You will be monitored till you can go to hospital room or home.
  • Do not consume any food until given the go by medical team.

These are some tips on how to be prepared for breast cancer surgery. It is good if you are able to consult one of top oncology surgeons in India. This will ensure you are in good hands.


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