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Breast Cancer Surgery Checklist

Breast Cancer Surgery Checklist

Questions to ask your cancer care team while considering breast cancer surgery

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  • What kind of surgery do you recommend? How much of my breast will be removed?
  • What are the risks and side effects of this surgery? What are the risks if I decide not to have this surgery?
  • What are my options for anesthesia? What are the risks of anesthesia?
  • How do I take care of the incision site at home?
  • Will I need pain medication?
  • Will I have a lymph node dissection? If so, how many nodes will be removed?
  • What should I include in my care routine after lymph node dissection?
  • How do I bathe or shower with the drains present?
  • Will I have stitches that need to be removed later?
  • How long will I stay in the hospital after the surgery?
  • When can I start wearing a bra? Do I need a special type of bra?
  • Will surgical drains be placed in my chest/armpit area? If so, for how long and how do I take care of them?
  • How much time should I expect to allow for recovery at home?
  • Will I have decreased or absent sensation/numbness in my chest or arm?
  • Do you have any information about exercises that I can take with me?
  • If I have a mastectomy, will I be able to have breast reconstruction?
  • Will my medical insurance cover all charges from the surgery?

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