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What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for Breast Surgery?

Apr 09, 2024

What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for Breast Surgery?
Breast surgery is often a lifesaving cornerstone of breast cancer care. Read our brief guide to thoroughly prepare for your upcoming breast surgery. 

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women in the United States behind skin cancer. Finding the cancer in its earliest possible stage is always ideal, which is why experts recommend self-examinations, breast exams from your OB-GYN or primary care provider, and yearly mammograms starting around age 45

When breast cancer occurs, breast surgery is often a critical treatment to prevent the cancer from spreading. You might need a lumpectomy (breast-preserving surgery) or a full mastectomy to remove the affected breast or breasts. In any case, breast surgery is a major step and you should get as much information as possible before you proceed. 

Our team of world-class oncologists at Arizona Center for Cancer Care is here to support you at every step of breast cancer treatment starting with your initial diagnosis. We help you prepare for your breast surgery effectively to give you a positive outcome and a smooth recovery. Start with a comprehensive evaluation and treatment consultation at our offices in Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, Anthem, Peoria, Fountain Hills, Wickenburg, Apache Junction, Sun City, Sun City West, Goodyear, or Tempe, Arizona.

If breast surgery is in your future, knowing what to expect can alleviate questions and uncertainty about what to expect. We’ve compiled a brief guide on the basic steps of breast cancer surgery preparation to help you get ready. 

Completing your evaluation

Our team at Arizona Center for Cancer Care provides an in-depth evaluation before you get a lumpectomy or mastectomy for breast cancer treatment to be sure you’re a good candidate for a safe surgery. Leading up to your operation, your visits might involve:

  • A comprehensive health history
  • Physical exams
  • Mammography
  • Blood testing
  • Urinalysis
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) if you’re a high-risk patient

Additional screening tests depend on your personal health, age, cancer type, and needs. After testing, your surgeon provides detailed instructions for the next steps. 

Managing your diet presurgery

Leading up to your breast surgery, you should try to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. Be sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat, high-protein foods. Additionally, drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. Taking these steps helps control your blood glucose for faster and more effective healing. 

On the morning of your operation, your surgeon might advise you to avoid eating and drinking anything other than water. Our team goes over the specifics of your dietary guidelines far ahead of your surgery so you know what to anticipate. 

Modifying substances and medications

One of the most important presurgery recommendations is to stop smoking. Smoking is associated with an up to 40% increase in operative and postoperative complications, which means quitting at least 4-6 weeks in advance is a must. As a bonus, quitting smoking also reduces your risk of cancer recurrence. 

According to your surgeon’s instructions, you might need to adjust or stop taking some of your typical medications too. Some prescription medications, nonprescription medications, and supplements can thin your blood and increase bleeding. It’s important to bring a comprehensive list of all the medications and supplements you use regularly to discuss possible modifications with your surgeon ahead of time. 

Making arrangements for your recovery

Your breast surgery recovery begins immediately after surgery. Whether or not you spend the night in the hospital, you should arrange to have someone drive you home after your operation. 

Wound healing can take 6-8 weeks, but it can take months for your chest, breast, and arm to feel comfortable again. With this in mind, be sure to prepare your home for post-surgical recovery ahead of time. This means:

  • Placing daily use items within your reach (no high shelves or deep cupboards)
  • Stock your wardrobe with loose-fitting, easy-to-wear clothing (i.e. no button-ups)
  • Stock your kitchen with pre-prepared meals and snacks
  • Keep safety pins on hand to secure your drains
  • Acquire a shower chair, handheld nozzle, and other recommended accessible supplies
  • If you live alone, make arrangements for someone else to take care of chores and heavy lifting

The rest is up to you: You’ll be at home for a while, so update your streaming subscription, rent some books from the library, or make other arrangements to keep yourself occupied. 

Contact us today

Our experts are ready to support you through your breast surgery, recovery, and beyond. To get in touch, call your nearest Arizona Center for Cancer Care office or request an appointment online at your earliest convenience.