Can You Still Get Breast Cancer After A Double Mastectomy?

Double mastectomy, which is basically removal of both the breast surgically, is seen to drastically reduce the chances of the recurrence of breast cancer. This is because almost all of the breast tissues are removed in double mastectomy surgery. Although the chances are extremely less, one cannot deny that there still may be a chance that the residual breast tissue or cancer cells could recur on the chest wall. It should also be remembered that having a double mastectomy does not reduce the risk of developing cancer somewhere else in the body.

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Can You Still Get Breast Cancer After A Double Mastectomy?

What Guidelines To Follow At Home For Recovery After Double Mastectomy?

Once the double mastectomy surgery is done and the patient gets discharged from the hospital, proper care is essential for speedy recovery of the patient. Some of the ways to take care at home include:

Diet: It is extremely important to have nutritious food after double mastectomy. A balanced diet with right amount of nutrients is not only healthy, but also helps in healing the surgical wounds faster.

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Emptying the Tubes: Drainage tubes that will be attached after the surgery helps in removal of extra fluid and these tubes have to be emptied regularly. Also, it is important to keep track of the amount of fluid that comes off. These tubes are temporary and will be taken off within few weeks. Some form of assistance may be needed in order to empty the tubes. The patient may not be able to do it all by herself.

Exercise: Exercise may help in getting rid of the stiffness the patient might be feeling in her arms. It is very important to consult the doctor as to what kind of exercises would be beneficial. The doctors usually recommend some set of arm stretches after the wound gets healed.

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Consultation: If some kind of unusual symptoms after double mastectomy are noticed like bleeding or any kind of leakage, the doctor should be consulted immediately.

Rest: Rest is essentially an important part of the healing process. Adequate rest should be taken for faster recovery.

What are the Emotional Changes a Woman May Go through after Double Mastectomy?

Mastectomy is a major life decision that a woman opts for, and various emotional changes are bound to come with it. It is quite hard to predict how the patient may feel immediately after mastectomy and how the feeling may change after months ahead it. Some of the common feelings include-

  • Extreme sadness and feeling of loss.
  • Having issues with body image.
  • Feeling of apprehension and anxiety.
  • Reduced interest in intimacy.
  • Fear of the recurrence of cancer and its treatment again.

It may happen so, that no amount of positive attitude may cheer up the patient. It is important to understand is getting rid of cancer is a positive part of the surgery. Various methods of breast reconstruction methods can help the patient to gain back the confidence.

What are the Possible Side-Effects of Double Mastectomy?

Side-effects follow every other surgery and the same is true with double mastectomy. If proper care is taken, one can get rid of such side-effects easily.

Tiredness: The patient of double mastectomy might feel extremely fatigued for a couple of days after the surgery. It can even get uncomfortable lying in bed. Arranging pillows around the torso and sleeping in a reclining position with the help of a recliner can prove to be effective.

Numbness: The patient of double mastectomy may experience some form of unusual sensations in the chest and underarms like itchiness or some form of pressure. The chest may feel overly sensitive or completely numb. This is not abnormal and will go away with time.

Stiffness: Some amount of stiffness may be experienced in arms and shoulders. Stretching exercises may provide some relief.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 2, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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