Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a devastating prospect for any woman, and going under the knife to successfully beat the disease can be equally terrifying. Breast cancer surgery, which is a necessary step in removing all the cancerous cells, can take a toll on a woman’s physical and emotional state of well-being. Therefore, it is important to take proper steps to keep the mind and body ready for the procedure to help with pre-and post-operation issues.
Breast cancer and the role of surgery
Cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells in the body. A tumor that results from the uncontrolled growth of cells can be benign, which is not dangerous to health, or malignant, which is potentially dangerous. Cells from a malignant tumor can eventually spread to the rest of the body through the blood or the lymph system. Therefore, breast cancer refers to a malignant tumor formed out of the cells in the breast. They typically begin in the lobules’ cells that produce milk or the ducts through which the milk drains to the nipple. It can also begin in the fatty and connective tissues of the breast but are less commonly seen.
The symptoms of breast cancer include any unusual changes to the breasts in the form of hard irregularly-shaped lumps, swelling of part or the entire breast, skin irritation or dimpling, the nipple turning inward or nipple pain, nipple discharge that is not breast milk, a lump in the underarm area, etc. Although these could be symptoms of something less serious, a mammogram and doctor checkup can further test for confirmation.
The surgery for breast cancer falls under two main types.
- Breast-conserving surgery: Here, only a part of the breast that contains the cancer is removed. The mass removed depends on the size and location of the tumor. It incorporates procedures such as lumpectomy, quadrantectomy, and partial mastectomy, with the goal of surgery being only to remove cancer and some of the surrounding tissue.
- Mastectomy: It is a procedure in which the entire breast is removed and some of the surrounding tissues. A double mastectomy is sometimes required where both the breasts are removed.READ MORE ARTICLES :
After the surgery
When a surgical procedure causes loss of a part of the body and change in appearance, the experience can be unnerving, especially when women have to deal with physical struggles of recovery combined with the emotional pain of waking up every day without a breast or both breasts. Finding a balance mentally, physically, and spiritually can go a long way in easing the recovery process. Some of the ways to prepare yourself for and bounce back after the procedure include:
- Building a strong support system comprising of trusted friends and loving family members who care deeply about you
- Following a healthy diet and exercise regimen to recover from the surgery and maintain a general state of good health
- Connecting with others in support groups who have made it through the ordeal and those who are undergoing treatment to help overcome fears
- Getting involved in breast cancer awareness programs to help others affected by it get a broader perspective of the issue
To restore the breast’s normal appearance, women can consider opting for breast reconstruction surgeries that can be chosen online with breast cancer surgery packages. Among the several types of reconstructive surgeries available, it is a good idea to discuss the viable options with the breast surgeon and a plastic surgeon before the mastectomy.