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10 Tips on How to Take Care of Yourself after Breast Cancer Surgery
If you have been recently diagnosed as having breast cancer, your doctor may recommend a full mastectomy or a partial one.
On the other hand, you may already have had a mastectomy or a partial mastectomy and you're left with a number of questions about how to best take care of yourself at this point. This article will try to answer some of your unanswered questions if you're facing surgery or have already had it.
To help you organize your questions, it will be beneficial for you to carry around a small notebook on which you can jot your questions as well as the answers your doctor gives you. For example, you need to know what your doctor recommends -- should you have a full mastectomy or a partial one? Do you want a second opinion at this point? How long will your hospital stay be? Have your lymph nodes been affected by cancer? How will your body react after one or more lymph nodes has been removed? What is the best method of taking care of your incision? How much scarring is anticipated by your doctor after surgery? Will removing one or more lymph nodes affect the range of motion of your shoulder and arm? Have you considered how you will care for the areas of your body that are effected by surgery after your operation?
It's often a good idea to have a support group standing behind you at this tough time of your life. Having someone who's already been through this experience to share what they went through could help you get an idea of what's going to happen to you as well.
You'll be wanting to know how long a full recovery will take when you are back on your feet again. After the removal of one or both of your breasts, your sense of balance may be affected. In time your body will adjust to this. However, the services of a physical therapist may help you a lot to regain your former agility. There are special exercises you can do to help remove the stiffness and help you feel better after surgery.
After breast cancer surgery, you will need to take care of yourself and be specially careful about the arm and hand on the side where lymph nodes were removed -- if any lymph nodes were found to contain cancer cells.
Following surgery, your arm on the side where your lymph nodes were removed may swell. You need to protect your arm and hand on that side after your operation by paying attention to the following tips:
1. Don't use that arm to carry heavy packages or other items.
2. Avoid wearing tight clothing.
3. Don't wear snug bracelets or watches.
4. Don't receive shots or other medical procedures on your affected arm and hand.
5. Don't use harsh cleaning solutions unless you protect your arms and hands by wearing plastic or rubber gloves.
6. Be sure to wear protective gloves when you do heavy-duty cleaning or gardening.
7. Be on your guard against sunburn.
8. Be especially careful when trimming your nails and cuticles to avoid cutting them.
9. Wear an elastic sleeve if your arm swells.
10. Protect your affected arm from cuts and insect bites.
If your lymph nodes are going to be removed or have already been removed, be sure to see your doctor if your arm bothers you.
Today there are numerous medical advancements that help women overcome the effects of breast cancer, so take advantage of the medical advice your doctor can provide for you.
About the Author: Learn how to take care of yourself after breast cancer surgery. Patricia Wagner writes about a variety of health and wellness issues to help you be healthier.