Breast cancer surgery, aimed at removing cancer, wreaks devastation on the emotional and physical state of health of a woman. One must be prepared in body and mind to face surgery and seek help for issues, both pre-operative and post-operative. This is to enhance recovery and boost your self-esteem as well as body image.
Here are a few tips for facing breast cancer surgery:
- Stay positive:
Diagnosing cancer is a crisis issue for a woman. But instead of treating it as an emergency and rushing to seek surgery, it is good to weigh all treatment options. This is so that you do not make a hasty decision and compromise treatment outcome. You can take a few weeks to make major decisions. This includes weighing financial options like breast cancer treatment cost in India.
- Avoid unnecessary multiple surgeries:
Even when one surgery is all that is needed, one out of 3 women who undergo lumpectomy go in for multiple operations. Multiple operations are needed when-1) when cancer is detected in benign lumps removed by surgery ; 2) when cancer is not removed totally by first surgery ;3) when surgeon fails to evaluate lymph nodes after first surgery.
- Go in for a second opinion:
One of the most crucial decisions in treating cancer is choosing the right doctor and surgeon. This will determine not only the success of treatment but also emotional response to surgery and the post –operative side effects. Even in the case that you are happy with your current surgeon, it is good to seek a second opinion for being guided to the right path of recovery.
- Demand a needle biopsy before surgery:
If you are diagnosed with a lump in the breast, abnormal ultrasound or abnormal mammogram, do not be in a hurry to get it removed even when advised by your surgeon. Before surgery, insist on a needle biopsy of tissue extracted from the abnormality. Understanding the nature of lump or abnormality will contribute to successful removal of breast cancer, assess the need for multiple surgeries and give you the chance to weigh treatment options (mastectomy/ lumpectomy/biopsy of lymph node/breast reconstruction/clinical trials). Usually the success of a breast surgery depends on correct biopsy.
- Request surgeon for wide margin:
Though the prospect of losing extra tissue is upsetting, it is best that surgeon removes an abundant rim of normal tissue along with cancerous tissue. This rim is called as safety margin or surgical margin. This margin is vital as cancers appear smaller than reality in diagnostic tests. Surgeon can also insert 2 wires inside eitherside of tumour to ensure removal of cancer with wide surgical margin.
- Request for onco-plastic surgery:
It is a new method to treat breast cancer. It combines advanced principles of cancer removal, modern imaging of breasts and techniques of plastic surgery. This ensures success in cancer removal reduces risk of recurrence and restores appearance and shape of operated breast.
- Insist on MRI of both breasts:
Mammograms and ultrasound are common tools to diagnose and treat cancer. But these are often not able to detect the right size and location of cancer. Breast MRI helps to plan surgery by revealing cancer areas undetected by ultrasound or mammogram. MRI of both breasts is essential for proper treatment of cancer.
These are some tips to prepare for breast cancer surgery. Breast cancer surgery cost in India is among the lowest in the world, attracting medical tourists from around the world.