Right after the surgery you will probably feel weak, and you may feel sore for 2 to 3 days. You may have a pulling or stretching sensation near or under your arm. You may also have itching, tingling, and throbbing in the area. This will get better in a few days.
You will probably have a plastic or rubber tube, called a drain, to collect fluid from under the affected arm on the side of the surgery. Your doctor will remove this when the fluid buildup slows. This can be in a few days or even several weeks.
You may be able to go back to your normal routine or return to work in several weeks, but it may take longer. How long it takes you to recover will depend on the type of surgery you had. It also depends on whether you had breast reconstruction at the same time, or if you need other treatment. Your doctor or nurse will be able to give you an idea of what you can expect.
When you find out that you have cancer, you may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. This is common. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. You also can do things at home to make yourself feel better while you go through treatment. Call the Canadian Cancer Society (1-888-939-3333) or visit its website at www.cancer.ca for more information.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter S340 in the search box to learn more about "Mastectomy: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: March 28, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Laura S. Dominici, MD - Surgery, General Surgery, Oncology
©2006-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.