Having a Breast Cancer Operation
This month we continue with an explanation of what to expect and the questions to have answered before finalizing a decision on having a breast cancer operation. Since one out of every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is vital that the affected female population understand this process to assist them in responding to each ones own personal health crisis.
The following are some questions you should have answered from your doctor prior to the operation. I have provided some insight into the likely answers, but you need specifics and only your doctor and the hospital where the operation will take place can provide that information.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Before Deciding On A
Breast Removal Operation
How long will the operation take? It usually depends on where you are having the operation and what the hospitals procedures are like. Your actual operation can take about two to four hours depending on what is being done.
How should I expect to feel after my operation? You will be awakened in the recovery room where you will spend an hour or two. You may feel drowsy, nauseated and have a dry mouth, this is normal. Expect to have tubes in the area of your operation to drain away fluid and an intravenous tube in your arm for liquid nourishments. Wires will be taped to your chest to measure your heartbeat and the area of operation will be bandaged.
How long will I be in the hospital? In most cases, you will stay one to two days although some hospitals will let you go home the same day.
What happens in the hospital after the surgery? That will depend on the type of surgery you have had and the practices of that hospital. Usually the nurse will be in to see you often to take your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. She will check the area operated on and you will be asked to turn, cough and breathe deeply to keep your lungs clear. You will also be asked to move your legs and feet to improve your blood circulation. By the next day you will probably get up out of bed, with help, and walk around. You will soon be eating solid foods and be able to take a sponge bath. You will leave the hospital usually with the drains that are taking fluid out of the underarm area still in place.
Will I be in pain? What will you do for my pain? You will probably feel some pain in the area of the operation. You may also feel some numbness, tingling, or pain in your chest, shoulder area, upper arm or armpit. If you are in pain, do not hesitate to ask for medication to relieve it.
Will I have to have treatments after the operation? There are many factors that your doctor will consider in making this decision. The term used will be “adjuvant treatment.”
When will the stitches be taken out? Usually stitches are taken out seven to ten days after the operation.
What problems might I have after the operation? You may have swelling in your arm, infection around the area of your operation, weakness in your upper body, a tired feeling, or shoulder pain.