Once a woman has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are the surgeries and treatments that she needs to go through to rid her body of any further breast cancer cells. While the surgeries and treatments can rid the immediate danger of the cancerous cells, the road to recovery is not yet finished for these cancer victims.
The breast cancer patient still has to go through the breast reconstruction, rehabilitation, follow-up visits with her doctors, and get the support she needs to complete her road to recovery.
Breast Reconstruction Options
There are women who have decided to wear a breast prosthesis after a mastectomy rather than have breast reconstruction surgery. There have been women who have decided to have the breast reconstruction surgery. Those who opt to have the reconstruction surgery can have the surgery done at the time the mastectomy is done or chose to have it at a later date. There are also women who choose not to have a reconstructive surgery on their breasts or wear a prosthesis. The options that are available for breast cancer patients, but the choice of what they want to do in the end is their choice alone.
The breast reconstruction uses a variety of different procedures. There are the silicone or saline breast implants and an option to use different muscle and tissues from different areas of the body to reconstruct the breasts. It is best to talk with your doctors and surgeons about the breast reconstruction options that are available.
The safety of the silicone breast implants have been under scrutiny from the FDA for several years. The scrutiny of the safety and health concerns that have risen from the bursting and seeping of the implants. The silicone breast implant option should be discussed with your doctor for further information about their availability and further FDA research information.
The type of breast reconstruction will depend on the woman’s body type, age, and the form of breast cancer removal surgery she had.
Breast Cancer Rehabilitation
As with any major surgery that requires the removal or reconstruction of muscles and other tissues in the body, rehabilitation after breast cancer surgery is just as important. The rehabilitative and health care teams want to make sure the patient gets back into their normal routines and activities.
Recovery time will depend on the type of treatment received, the extent of the cancer, and various other factors. The recovery time for each of the cancer patients will vary from person to person.
To regain the strength and range of motion in the arms, the rehabilitative exercises for the arm and shoulder will need to be done. The exercises can help reduce the stiffness and pain in the back and neck areas. The exercises are usually started a day or two after the surgery and they can be done in bed.
Follow-up Care for Breast Cancer Patients
There are regularly scheduled follow-up appointments for breast cancer patients. The follow-up appointments include examinations of the neck, underarm area, breasts, and periodical mammograms.
After the cancer surgery, any changes to the breast area that has had any form of treatment will need to be watched because women who had breast cancer in one breast are at high risk for getting breast cancer in the other breast.
Those who have breast cancer should alert their doctors of any problems that occur after they have started their recovery process. The following symptoms should be monitored if they last longer than expected or are unusual for the patient:
• Hoarseness or coughing
• Digestive problems
• Shortness of breath
• Loss of appetite or weight
• Menstrual cycle changes
• Unusual vaginal bleeding
• Blurred vision
These symptoms could be signs that the cancer has returned.
Breast Cancer Support
When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, it can and will change her life and those who are close to her. The emotions that are associated with breast cancer will affect the patient, family and friends are overwhelming and confusing.
There is also the added stress for the breast cancer patient of caring for her family, daily activity continuance, their jobs, medical bills, treatments, tests, and hospital stays. The patient will need as much support as possible.
The health care professionals involved with all aspects of the breast cancer patient can and should answer all medical questions for the patient, friends, and family. There are several types of counseling sessions available for everyone involved to talk with about their feelings and concerns.
There are support groups for breast cancer patients and families. Breast cancer patients often talk with each other for further support.
Women who have under gone breast cancer and the treatments often have fears about the changes that their bodies have gone through and how the changes will affect how they and others feel about them and the way they look. They also worry about the how they feel about themselves.
There are also added concerns about how the breast cancer will affect their sexual activity and relationships with their spouses. If talking about their feelings and concerns with each other about their sex lives does not work, there are counselors that can help them through this period.