How To Care for Yourself After Breast Cancer Surgery


Going through breast cancer is overwhelming. There are many treatments and surgeries that you may need in order to beat it. If you have recently needed surgery related to your cancer, there are a few things you should be doing to care for yourself afterward.

Managing the Pain

After the surgery is complete, you may be in pain or discomfort. To manage your pain the best, you need to assess your discomfort level and take the medication prescribed by your doctor. Be sure you take the medication before the pain becomes severe. 

You may be prescribed a narcotic, such as Vicodin, many times and should understand that while on it, you should not drink alcoholic beverages and avoid driving. While taking these narcotics is helpful for your pain, they can also cause constipation. Therefore, it is a good idea to increase your intake of fluids and eat foods higher in fiber.

Dressing Care

After the surgery, you will have incisions with stitches and sterile strips. On top of that will be gauze and dressing tape to ensure the incisions heal properly. One important rule to follow is never to remove any of the dressing. Your doctor should remove it within seven to ten days. If any bandages fall off, do not try to fix them yourself. Instead, contact your doctor. Later, once the incisions have begun to heal, you can invest in mastectomy bras to help you adjust.

You should also know that some bruising and swelling will appear after the surgery, as well as a possible low-grade fever under a hundred degrees the day after surgery.

Diet and Activity

When it comes to diet and activity after your breast cancer surgery, you can resume your regular diet once you take fluids after coming out of the anesthesia. The only advice your doctor will give you is to drink eight to ten glasses of water daily since the medications you will be on may cause some digestion distress. Also, with any illness, getting plenty of fruits and vegetables is good.

Regarding activity, it would be best if you avoided strenuous activities. No heavy lifting or vigorous exercise until your stitches have been removed. After surgery, you will want to start by going for walks. It is important to keep your body moving while prioritizing rest.

Going through major breast cancer surgery is a scary thing. You will want to ensure that you recover well and follow these tips.