Breast cancer surgery is one of several methods to treat the cancer commonly undergone by women. Breast cancer surgery is considered as a local therapy, in that it is performed to target the affected breast without affecting the other parts of the body. In many cases, breast cancer surgeries are performed for breast cancer in the early stage, although it is also possible to be performed under some other circumstances.
What breast cancer surgeries do?
Breast cancer surgeries are commonly performed to:
- Remove as much tumor or cancer as possible from the affected region. Thus, the early the stage is, the higher the possibility that most cancer can be removed.
- Relieve existing symptoms and minimize the risk of more advanced cancer. In addition to removing the existing cancer cells, breast cancer surgery will also inhibit the formation of new cancer on the same region.
- Find out how much the cancer has spread and whether it affects the lymph nodes.
- Reshaping the affected breast post-surgery.
How to prepare for breast cancer surgery
Since breast cancer surgeries can serve multiple things related to breast cancer, the type of surgery you are going to undergo depends on your symptoms and severity. However, these surgeries share similar ways of initial preparations before it is performed. Preparing the things properly will be very helpful for you on the treatment day, so that possible negative effects of the treatment can be minimized.
- Find insurance information about breast cancer surgeries, making sure it is covered or trying to find restrictions, if any, so that you can prepare well financially. On the day of the procedure, make sure you bring all documents required for the insurance-related matters.
- Find someone that is able to accompany you through the procedure. The support of someone of your choice will mean a lot. Thus, bring someone who can communicate well with you and understand what you expect from the procedure, so that it will be easier later, in case something needs to be taken care of.
- Make sure your children understand. Breast cancer surgery will not only require you to be away from home for some days, but may also cause changes to you physically. Make sure the children understand, so that things get easier for you and them.
- Stack food supplies in the fridge. Post-surgery diet may require foods you do not normally take. Hence, go shopping before the procedure will be helpful. To do this, ask your surgeon about the diet plan you need to follow after the surgery and shop for them before the procedure, as the limitation you have after it may inhibit you for doing this chore immediately after the surgery.
- Prepare the menu list by grouping food menus your surgeon tells you. Day-to-day meal planning is essential and saves a lot of time later on.
- Prepare your bedroom to be as comfortable as possible. This place might be your sanctuary some days after the procedure. Preparing it before leaving for the hospital will be time-saving later.
- Bring the X-ray result you might have got before for your surgeon’s reference.
- Do not eat or drink 8 to 12 hours before the procedure. In most cases, breast cancer surgeries require anesthesia, so that it is advised that your digestive system is not working hard by the time the procedure performed.
- Stop taking blood-thinning medications and aspirin a week before the procedure. This is necessary in order to minimize the risk of severe bleeding during the procedure.
- Shower the morning of surgery, but do not use any perfumes or body lotion before the procedure.
- Remove all jewelries, including piercings. You might also be told to remove nail polish.
- Bring any medications you might require after surgery, such as an inhaler.
- Update your music playlist. After the surgery, music can give a big impact to your recovery. Fill your playlist with relaxing or up-beating music of your choice and bring the music player to the hospital with you. You can even choose some songs talking about defeating cancer or other bad fortunes in life.
As soon as you arrive at the hospital, the nurse will prepare things to make sure you and the procedure are well-prepared.
- Check your personal data and match it with the insurance details.
- Measure your vital signs, such as temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level, and your weight and height.
- Check your family members that can be contacted regarding your condition.
- Give you an overview about the upcoming procedure and explain possible pain and side effects.
- Give an overview on what you need to do before the surgeries, such as peeing and changing into the hospital gown, and after the surgery.
- Inform your family members about how long you might spend the time in the hospital and what they can do during your healing process.
- Assist you for the IV before, during, and after the surgery if necessary.