How to Care for Yourself After a Mastectomy

Breast cancer, sadly, affects hundreds of thousands of women every year. Mastectomies, the complete removal of breast tissue, and lumpectomies, the removal of tumours and lumps, are typical treatment options for those with early-stage breast cancer. As with other surgery, you need to know how to take care of yourself before and after the surgery. In this article, we will be looking at post-operative care at home as this is what many people struggle with.


It is best to reduce your activity level while remaining relatively active after your surgery. Walking is a great exercise as it helps improve blood flow without straining your body as much as other exercises do. You should avoid strenuous exercises like jogging, aerobics and biking. Weightlifting and lifting anything over 7 kilograms are strictly forbidden for the first two months post-surgery. Housework and activities that require repetitive motions such as sweeping are also forbidden.

You should try to rest as much as possible and sleep at least eight hours every day. Lift your arms over your head after any activity to keep the blood flowing.


You can continue eating like you used to. However, you might want to increase your water intake as it helps with recovery. Some constipation and irregular bowel movements are common after surgery. You can change your diet and increase water and fibre intake which can help. However, you should see a doctor before taking an over-the-counter laxative.

Choosing Bras After Surgery

An important part of your recovery is choosing the right bra. The right bra should not aggravate the area, especially the incision sites, and provide a natural look. The bra should have soft seams, adjustable straps, cup separation, deep side and front panels and minimal detailing. It is also very important that the bra does not have underwires as these can cause irritation that can lead to serious issues down the line.

It is also best to pick cotton bras because they are gentler on the skin and will help you stay cooler. As you heal, your bra preferences and needs will change, and this is a good time to start thinking about bra fillers. Silicone bra fillers are an especially great option for women who feel lopsided after their surgeries and who would like some symmetry.

There are several bra inserts that can help with breast asymmetry after surgery. It is a good idea to choose ones that get your bust size as close to what it was before the surgery as possible. This is because down the line, typically a year, you will be able to wear the bras you already have and silicone breast pads that lead to a bigger bust might make this difficult.


Your doctor will tell you which medications you can continue taking and when to resume. What is most important is that you avoid blood-thinning medications like aspirin and only take them when a doctor prescribes them.

Pain medication is fine, but only when recommended by the doctor. Prescribed antibiotics can stop infections so take the complete dose as directed and do not stop just because you feel fine.

Taking proper care of yourself after a serious surgery like a mastectomy is crucial. It is important for your healing and for reducing the recovery time. Listen to your doctor always as they want what is best for you.

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