Like any health problem, patients who are to undergo surgery for breast cancer have concerns about their recovery process. But, due to the various types of surgery and varied conditions of patients, the recovery process can vary greatly.
Patients may be worried about total cost of breast cancer surgery in India. But they need not worry too much about the recovery process.
In general, patients undergoing breast cancer surgery will face the following concerns:
- How to care for drainage device?
After surgery you may be discharged from hospital armed with an external drainage device. The drains help collect fluid from the site of surgery. Your care giver will guide you on to how to manage these drains. This includes emptying of drains, measuring of fluid, and monitoring for any problems. Typically, the drains will be dismantled within one week post surgery.
- How long to wait for wetting my incision?
The incision must be maintained dry and clean till one week after surgery. Hence you may avoid showers and go in for sponge baths. There will remain small bits of tape over the incision which will fall away by them. But avoid swimming till doctor allows you.
- How to change bandages?
You will be asked to wear a special bra for holding bandages in place following surgery. Doctor will recommend till when to wear this bra and how to change bandages. It is good to get someone to assist you while changing bandages.
- How to handle pain?
After surgery, doctor will prescribe pain medication. You can also ask her about over-the counter medication to supplement this. Avoid medicines containing Aspirin, the first three days after surgery for fear of bleeding.
- How to take care of incision?
This spot may turn black or blue soon after surgery. This will disappear after a couple of days. One may experience discomfort, numbness or tingling in the arm pit. But not to worry- this is normal. Wait for one week before taking a shower. Avoid causing irritation to incision spot by shaving or applying deodorant. Healing might cause incision spot to toughen and thicken. You can massage the spot with lanolin, Vitamin E or mild lotion. Avoid perfumes or products containing alcohol. The scar will soften within a few weeks.
- Should I exercise?
It is totally wrong to be sedentary after breast surgery and becoming a couch potato as there is the danger of deep-vein thrombosis which can turn dangerous. Keep the arms on the side of surgery moving gently. Daily stretching exercise are good like arm lifts, arm swings and mock wall climbing.
- What is the nature of follow-ups?
It is crucial to have regular follow ups with medical team after breast surgery. Your team will monitor carefully whether cancer has returned. You may be subject to check-ups of neck, under arm and chest. Within regular intervals, you will subject to complete physical check-up and mammograms.
- Are breast self exams necessary?
There is a higher than average risk for a woman to develop cancer in the second breast if other breast has a history of cancer. You should resume monthly self exams of breasts and report to your doctor anything unusual.
- What is the cost of breast cancer treatment in India?
You must keep finances ready for undertaking breast cancer treatment.
These are some of the concerns faced by women who are ready to undergo breast cancer surgery.