Dos And Don’ts After Breast Cancer Surgery

One in eight women in India and around the world are at risk of acquiring breast cancer, making it one of the most prevalent and deadly types of the disease.

The typical age of onset is more than 50 years; however younger women are now being diagnosed with breast cancer. As research and therapy have progressed throughout time, survival rates have increased. The best ways to combat it are early detection and prevention. The majority of cancer diagnoses in India occur in the third stage, hence there is a need to raise awareness. To recuperate quickly, there are a few dos and don'ts that one should adhere to.


  • Arm and shoulder exercises - Consistent stretching exercises to restore the shoulder's mobility and function might lessen discomfort and the need for painkillers.
  • Take pain relievers - Numbness and soreness are frequent after effects of surgery, and it may take several weeks to fully recover from touch sensitivity in the upper arm. Use appropriate painkillers for faster recovery.
  • Practice good personal hygiene and wound care to prevent getting the wound moist. This will help to recover soon.
  • Drain care - Drains - Drains have to be emptied daily.
  • Eat well - During your healing phase, make sure you consume a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Wear compression clothing - For at least the first six weeks following surgery, make sure your breasts are completely supported by compression bras (breast conservation surgery). Elevate your arm using pillows at night to reduce swelling.
  • Speak with your oncologist- You may have a seroma, a swelling in your armpit caused by a fluid build-up that hurts, removed. Lymphedema, or swelling of the arm on the surgical side, can appear months or even years after surgery if lymph pathways are blocked.
  • Request - Request breast reconstruction from your surgeon at the time of surgery (immediate or postponed).
  • Follow-up exams: Following surgery, they are performed weekly, then, when the course of treatment is complete, every three months for the first two years, every six months for the next five years, and once a year after that.


  • After surgery, refrain from driving for up to two weeks.
  • Avoid getting shots, having your blood pressure taken, or having blood samples collected from your affected side.
  • Avoid wearing watches, rings, bracelets, or sleeves that are too tight on arm of affected side.
  • Avoid using the arm for any strenuous lifting, pushing, pulling, or repeating.
  • Consult your Oncologist if you develop arm swelling.

The following tips can help reduce a recurrence:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy after surgery
  • Hormone therapy with positive hormone receptors
  • Frequent exercise
  • Keeping the weight in check and eating a balanced diet
  • Attending all planned screenings
  • Not smoking

Contact an Oncologist in case there is any physical changes.

Dr. Nitin Leekha
Associate Director
Department of Surgical Oncology
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