Breast Cancer Patients often have to deal with its difficult symptoms and undergo surgeries as part of their treatment. In Singapore, common breast surgeries include:
A surgery to remove cancerous or abnormal tissues from the breast. This surgery is also known as breast-conserving surgery or wide local excision because only a portion of the breast is removed.
Mastectomy is the medical term for the removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.
Breast reconstruction also can be done many months or even years after mastectomy or lumpectomy. During reconstruction, a plastic surgeon creates a breast shape using an artificial implant (implant reconstruction), a flap of tissue from another place on your body (autologous reconstruction), or both.
What to expect after surgery?
Tubes & Drains
After the surgery (usually following a mastectomy or breast reconstruction surgery), patients may be discharged with tubes or drainage device. These drains are important in removing liquid buildup at surgery site. Patients are usually shown how to care for their tubes or drainage devices. This usually includes emptying the drains, measuring the liquids and keeping an eye out for any infections. Drains are usually removed a week or two post-surgery.
Post-surgery , patients will get a special bra that holds bandages in place after surgery. The doctor will advise on when the bra can be removed and you will be shown how to change the dressing. This activity is advisable with the aid of a caregiver.
Patients, should they wish to opt-out for breast reconstruction can get prostheses. Find out more about breast prostheses here.
Being measured for the right size bra is crucial for breast maintenance and breast health. Patients should always size her bra to the larger breast. As bra sizing is not a perfect science, it takes a little trial and error to find the perfect fit.
Daily activities like sweeping, typing and driving may be hindered while patient is in recovery. What one can manage differs from person to person, depending on which surgery the patient has had. Patients are advised not to carry anything heavy or make any big movements while their wounds heal.
Exercising Your Arm
You will experience pain and stiffness post-surgery. Exercises help to decrease side effects of your surgery and help you get back to your usual activities.
However, it’s important to talk with your doctor before starting any exercise programme. Some exercises should not be done until drains and sutures (stitches) are removed. But some exercises can be done soon after surgery. The exercises that increase your shoulder and arm motion can usually be started in a few days. Exercises to strengthen arm mobility may be added later.
You may be suggested to see a physical therapist or occupational therapist. These professionals are specially trained to design an exercise program for you. Patients who do not have full use of their arm within 3 to 4 weeks of surgery may require such assistance.
How can Jaga-Me Help?
It is important to know that Breast Cancer Patients do not have to go through their recovery alone. We provide professional cancer care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with their daily activities or wound care, you can engage our services. If you need personalised caregiver training, you can simply ask our nurses! We will assess the condition of the patient and provide you a personalised care plan on how to care for her.