Preparing for Breast Cancer Surgery

It is never easy to deal with breast cancer. Even if your cancer is in its earliest stages, there will be challenges that you are not prepared to handle right away. For many patients, breast cancer surgery is the first of these hurdles. Let’s look at preparing for breast cancer surgery.

Preparing for Breast Cancer Surgery

All surgeries are stressful. Recovery is always unpleasant. However, there is something radically different about waking up to a body that doesn’t quite feel or look like yours. The good news is that the transformation may not need to be quite so radical thanks to the skill of your breast cancer surgeon in Houston. Even so, you will still need to prepare physically and emotionally.

Preparing Physically

There’s a whole protocol designed to make sure that breast cancer surgery is as safe as possible for their patients. Unfortunately, it does mean jumping through a few hoops on your way. These are some things that you might expect.

Pre-surgery Testing

Surgery puts strain on your body. Prior to any surgery, you will be subjected to a battery of tests to make sure that you are fit enough to safely undergo surgery. These may include:

  • Blood tests to check kidney and liver function
  • ECG to evaluate heart health
  • Lung function tests
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest X-ray to have a look at your lungs
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise test to check your heart and lungs under stress

If any of these tests raise concern, your surgeon will discuss the implied risk. In most circumstances, they’ll still move forward with surgery, but they will take extra steps to keep you safe.

Pre-OP Appointment

A week or so before your mastectomy in Houston you will meet with the core surgical team. This will almost definitely include your primary surgeon, but you may also meet your primary nurse and the anesthesiologist. It just depends on your provider.

At this appointment, your surgeon will give you all of the information regarding:

  • What you need to do before surgery
  • What will happen during surgery
  • The risks are involved
  • What will happen after surgery

This is a great time to ask all of your questions and to clarify anything you don’t understand. Keep in mind that your surgeon won’t ask you to do anything that isn’t necessary. Fasting before surgery is terrible, but aspirating during surgery is far worse. Your surgeon should have a prepared document for you with all of this information.

Preparing Emotionally

Cancer can be life threatening, and that is understandably terrifying. If that wasn’t enough, the treatments change the way you look and feel. As a result, every person with cancer has their own struggles with their emotional health. Fortunately, you can act to help prepare yourself and limit the fallout.

Talk to Your Surgeon About Your Options

Skin and flesh sparing surgeries are viable for many patients. Ask your surgeon if it is safe for you to avoid a radical mastectomy. If you have to be more aggressive and you feel like the absence of your breasts will be especially upsetting, ask about early reconstruction and make a plan for having that done when it’s safe.

Contact Support Groups Early

Asking for help gets progressively harder when you’re feeling the strain of increasing anxiety or depression. By contacting and even joining a support group before surgery, you’re building relationships that can help to get you through the tougher times ahead.

Arrange Familial/Friend Support for Post-Op

Surgery is going to take a lot out of you, and you’ll need to minimize the burdens placed on you to ensure a strong emotional and physical recovery. This is a great time to call on all those favors you’ve stashed aside over the years. Ask if people can help you by providing frozen meals, help with childcare, etc.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for your surgery is multifaceted. There’s the physical aspect, which will be largely managed by your medical team. However, there’s also the emotional, mental, and relational aspects that have to be dealt with. No one expects you to do it all alone, so make sure you have a team ready to help you manage.

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