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Breast Cancer Surgery

Your incision


It’s normal to be worried about seeing your incision (surgical cut) for the first time. You can reach out to your healthcare team, family, or friends t​​o talk about the changes you see. Read more about body image and emotional health after your sugery.

Daily checks

It’s important to check your incision(s) every day, especially during the first 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. It’s normal for the surgical area to be a little swollen and bruised at first, but that will go away in a few weeks.

There may be firmness under the incision. You will notice this “healing ridge” for many months. It will soften over time.

Steri-strip care

If your incision has Steri-strips on it, leave them on. As the incision starts to heal:

  • The Steri-strips will start to curl up at the edges. You may trim the curled edges off carefully with scissors. Clean the scissors with soap and water first.
  • Leave the rest of the Steri-strips on until they come off on their own or your surgeon tells you to remove them.
  • When you are allowed to remove them, gently peel each end toward the middle until it comes off. They are easier to remove in the shower or right after you shower.​

Follow-up appointment

Your follow-up care is an important part of your recovery. It will be unique to you and will depend on your diagnosis, surgery, and health.

Be sure to write the follow-up appointment date and time on My Plan. If it has been 2 weeks since your surgery and you do not have a follow-up appointment booked yet, call your surgeon’s office.

Your surgeon will review the pathology report with you at your follow-up appointment. You may need more treatment after your surgery. This will depend on the stage, grade or type of cancer you have. Your healthcare team may recommend systemic treatment (such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormone therapy) or radiation treatment.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get some or all of your treatment and other supports close to home. Talk to your healthcare team to find out your options.​​​

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