Can You Fly After Breast Cancer Surgery
For patients who have had only one or two nodesremoved, he said, there is no risk in flying womenwho undergo complete removal, and particularly those with higherlevels of body fat, should still consult their doctorsbeforehand.
Similarly, you may ask, can you fly with breast cancer?
If you‘re feeling well, travelling abroadwhen you have breast cancer won’t necessarily affectyour plans. But you may need to check with your specialistteam that you‘re fit to travel, especially ifyou‘re still having treatment.
Beside above, can I travel after surgery? It is generally recommended to wait four to six weeks tofly after any lower limb surgery. It may be possibleto fly on short-haul or domestic flights at an earlier time, butpatients should always contact their GP to make sure that there isnot an aggravated risk of blood clots.
Keeping this in view, how long before you can fly after mastectomy?
Generally, you should be OK to drive ifyou can make an emergency stop without discomfort in thewound. Some people are able to drive about 3 weeksafter the operation, but it may be sooner or later than thisdepending on how you feel.
Can cancer patients travel by airplane?
Many patients with active cancer can flysafely. If you have concerns about your fitness for flying, askyour doctor — some cancer patients might be atrisk for complications if they fly.
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Prophylactic Oophorectomy And Hysterectomy
Some data suggest women with a BRCA1 inherited gene mutation may have a slightly increased risk of uterine cancer . This topic is under study.
However, if you have a BRCA1 gene mutation and are having a prophylactic oophorectomy, talk with your health care provider about the risks and benefits of having a hysterectomy at the same time .
Tuesday Q And A: Decision To Remove Breast That Doesnt Have Cancer A Personal One
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in one breast. Im planning to have a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. What are the chances Ill get cancer in my other breast? Im trying to decide if I should go ahead with a double mastectomy now. I dont really want to, but I dont want to go through this whole process twice, either.
ANSWER: In general, for someone in your situation the risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast is typically quite low. Removing the normal breast is not required as part of the treatment for your breast cancer. The decision to have a mastectomy on the cancer side and also remove a breast that does not have cancer is a very personal one. There are valid reasons some women choose to pursue this surgery. But it will have a long-term effect on your body, so you need to be comfortable with the decision you make.
A mastectomy is surgery that involves removing the majority of breast tissue from a breast as a way to treat or prevent cancer. For cancer prevention, this surgery reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by about 90 to 95 percent. It is not 100 percent because some areas of breast tissue do remain after a mastectomy. Those areas of tissue could develop breast cancer, although the chances of that happening are very small.
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Getting The Results During Surgery
In some hospitals, the surgeon gets the results of the sentinel lymph node biopsy during the operation. This is called an intra operative assessment. They can remove the rest of the nodes if necessary. You then avoid having a second operation.
Your surgeon will explain this to you before your operation, so you know what to expect.
Who Should Consider Having A Preventive Mastectomy
According to the National Cancer Institute, only those women who are at very high risk of breast cancer should consider preventive mastectomy. This includes women with one or more of the following risk factors:
- BRCA or certain other gene mutations
- Strong family history of breast cancer
- Previous cancer in one breast and high risk of developing breast cancer in the opposite breast
- History of lobular carcinoma in situ plus family history of breast cancer
- History of radiation to the chest before age 30
Preventive mastectomy should only be considered after you’ve received the appropriate genetic and psychological counseling to discuss the psychosocial impacts of the procedure.
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What Are The Risks
Before you decide to have a preventative mastectomy, its important to understand the benefits and risks. As with any surgery, theres a risk of infection or bleeding after a preventative mastectomy, as well as pain, tenderness or swelling in the breast area.
Having a preventative mastectomy may also change how your body looks and feels, which can cause emotional, psychological and physical effects as you get used to your post-surgery body. You may develop a different attitude toward your body after surgery, or body image issues. You also may need to navigate sexual changes after losing sensation in your breast and nipple.
Know that your care team and others can help you deal with these issues and find the support necessary to move forward. Ask your care team about resources available after a preventative mastectomy.
What Are The Risks If I Remove My Healthy Breast
- Having more than one surgery at the same time puts you at a higher risk for problems, especially if reconstruction is done.
- A major problem is two times more likely to happen if you remove both breasts instead of one.
- The risk of infection and needing extra surgeries is higher.
For Women At Very High Risk Of Breast Cancer
For women in this group, removing both breasts before cancer is diagnosed can greatly reduce the risk of getting breast cancer.
Unfortunately theres no way to know for sure ahead of time if a woman will benefit from this surgery. Most women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation will develop breast cancer at some point. Having a prophylactic mastectomy before the cancer develops might add many years to their lives. But not all women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations develop breast cancer. For some women the surgery might not have been helpful. Although they might still get some important benefits from the surgery such as peace of mind, they would also have to deal with its aftereffects, which might include physical and emotional side effects.
What Can I Expect During Recovery
Following a mastectomy, its common to have pain or tenderness in the surgical area. Youll also have limited movement in your arms and chest. You may need someone to help you at home. Youll leave the hospital with pain medication and instructions for aftercare, including:
- How to care for the bandage .
- How to care for the drain . This temporary tube leads out of the surgical site and collects fluid.
- How to wash and bathe around the surgical site.
- When you can wear a bra or prosthesis.
- What activities to avoid and for how long.
- What exercises to do to increase arm mobility and reduce scar tissue formation.
You dont have to worry about your stitches or staples. Usually, surgeons use stitches that dissolve on their own. If you have stitches, your surgeon will remove those at your follow-up appointment.
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What Is Breast Reconstruction
Many women who have a mastectomysurgery to remove an entire breast to treat or prevent breast cancerhave the option of having the shape of the removed breast rebuilt.
Women who choose to have their breasts rebuilt have several options for how it can be done. Breasts can be rebuilt using implants . They can also be rebuilt using autologous tissue . Sometimes both implants and autologous tissue are used to rebuild the breast.
Surgery to reconstruct the breasts can be done at the time of the mastectomy or it can be done after the mastectomy incisions have healed and breast cancer therapy has been completed . Delayed reconstruction can happen months or even years after the mastectomy.
Sometimes breast reconstruction surgery includes surgery on the other, or contralateral, breast so that the two breasts will match in size and shape.
Avoid Birth Control Pills Particularly After Age 35 Or If You Smoke
Birth control pills have both risks and benefits. The younger a woman is, the lower the risks are. While women are taking birth control pills, they have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. This risk goes away quickly, though, after stopping the pill. The risk of stroke and heart attack is also increased while on the pill particularly if a woman smokes. However, long-term use can also have important benefits, like lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, colon cancer and uterine cancer not to mention unwanted pregnancy so theres also a lot in its favor. If youre very concerned about breast cancer, avoiding birth control pills is one option to lower risk.
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How To Be More Comfortable Between Tissue Expansions
After your expansion your chest may be sore, like after you have exercised. Here are some things you can do to increase your comfort between tissue expansions:
- Take a few warm showers a day to help relax your muscles.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications , such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .
- Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to your breast skin. Dont put the moisturizer directly on your incision for 6 weeks after your surgery or until the scabbing has completely healed.
- Do the upper arm stretches and other exercises as instructed in the Exercises After Your Mastectomyresource your nurse gave you. You may find it easier to do these stretches after you shower since your muscles will be more relaxed.
- Wear soft, supportive bras. Dont wear underwire bras.
What Happens After A Sentinel Node Biopsy
If the lymph nodes do not contain cancer cells, you wont need to have any more nodes taken out.
If cancer cells are in the sentinel nodes, you have another operation to remove most or all of the lymph nodes under your arm. This is an axillary lymph node dissection or clearance. You generally have it about 2 weeks after you get the results.
Some people have radiotherapy to the armpit to destroy any remaining cancer cells instead of surgery.
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What Side Effects Can I Expect
- Infection at the surgery site. As with any surgery, infection is a risk. An antibiotic will usually get rid of the infection.
- Pain and discomfort. Your doctor will advise you on a pain relief medication. Some women have more pain than others.
- Itching. The wound will itch as it heals. But no matter how strong the urge, avoid scratching it. Your doctor can recommend an ointment or cream to calm the itching.
- Numbness or tingling. You may have these sensations because the nerves have been affected. They can last up to 12 months after surgery.
- Fluid collection under the wound. Fluid may build up under the wound, even after your drainage tubes are removed several days after the operation. If theres not much fluid, it may go away by itself. But if theres a lot, your surgeon may have to drain the site using a needle and syringe.
- A fever above 100 F
- Fluid leaking from incision sites
- Any change in color in the breast or scar area
- Increased pain or swelling in the surgical areas
Why Might I Need A Mastectomy
A mastectomy may be done as part of treatment for breast cancer.
Your doctor will likely advise you to have a mastectomy if:
- The tumor is large
- The tumor involves more than 1 area of your breast
- Using radiation therapy is not advised
The size of your breast may also help determine the type of mastectomy thatis done.
In some cases, women with a high risk for breast cancer may want to have amastectomy before cancer develops. This includes women with genes linked tobreast cancer, such as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. In these cases, amastectomy is done to try to keep breast cancer from occurring.
There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a mastectomy.
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What Are The Possible Complications After A Mastectomy
Like any surgery, theres a chance that some problems could occur after a mastectomy. About one in 10 women experiences a complication. Having a double mastectomy or breast reconstruction at the same time slightly increases your risk. Diabetes, excess weight, smoking and other medical problems can also increase your risk for a complication. Possible complications include:
- Buildup of blood or fluid under the wound.
- Burning or shooting pain in the chest, underarm or arm.
- Increased sensitivity in the scar area.
- Lumpy or painful scar tissue.
- Numbness in the scar area, chest, nipple or upper arm.
Another complication of mastectomy and lymph node surgery is lymphedema, which causes swelling in your arm. Approximately 20% of people develop lymphedema after a mastectomy with lymph node removal.
Who Is Really At Risk For Breast Cancer
What I have seen over many years is that women who are most at risk for breast cancer are those who have difficulty nurturing themselves and receiving pleasure. Women often feel that taking care of themselves and enjoying themselves means they are selfish. But its the most important thing you can do for your health and for everyone else! Its like when flight attendants on a plane instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting the person next to you. You cant continually give from a place of depletion without paying the consequences. So, if you do nothing else to create healthy breasts, I recommend you do what is necessary to nurture and love yourself. This means you learning how to receive.
To learn how to receive, follow these 3 simple steps:
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What Kinds Of Surgery Can Reduce The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Two kinds of surgery can be performed to reduce the risk of breast cancer in a woman who has never been diagnosed with breast cancer but is known to be at very high risk of the disease.
A woman can be at very high risk of developing breast cancer if she has a strong family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, a deleterious mutation in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene, or a high-penetrancemutation in one of several other genes associated with breast cancer risk, such as TP53 or PTEN.
The most common risk-reducing surgery is bilateral prophylactic mastectomy . Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy may involve complete removal of both breasts, including the nipples , or it may involve removal of as much breast tissue as possible while leaving the nipples intact . Subcutaneous mastectomies preserve the nipple and allow for more natural-looking breasts if a woman chooses to have breast reconstruction surgery afterward. However, total mastectomy provides the greatest breast cancer risk reduction because more breast tissue is removed in this procedure than in a subcutaneous mastectomy .
Even with total mastectomy, not all breast tissue that may be at risk of becoming cancerous in the future can be removed. The chest wall, which is not typically removed during a mastectomy, may contain some breast tissue, and breast tissue can sometimes be found in the armpit, above the collarbone, and as far down as the abdomenâand it is impossible for a surgeon to remove all of this tissue.
Other Options To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
If youre concerned about your breast cancer risk, talk to your health care provider. They can help you estimate your risk based on your age, family history, and other factors. If you are at increased risk, you might consider taking medicines that can help lower your risk. Your health care provider might also suggest you have more intensive screening for breast cancer, which might include starting screening at a younger age or having other tests in addition to mammography.
There are also other things that all women can do to help lower their risk of breast cancer, such as being active, staying at a healthy weight, and limiting or not drinking alcohol. For more information, see Can I Lower My Risk of Breast Cancer?
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Can A Prophylactic Mastectomy Prevent Breast Cancer
A recent study suggests that prophylactic bilateral mastectomy may reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 100% if there is a strong family history of breast cancer or a BRCA genetic mutation. However, risk reduction results vary widely for many reasons. In some studies, women had prophylactic mastectomies for non-high risk reasons, such as pain, fibrocystic breast disease, dense breast tissue, cancer phobia, or a family history of breast cancer.
Approximately 10% of women will develop breast cancer, even though their breast tissue has been removed. But in most studies, patients did not develop breast cancer after prophylactic mastectomy. However, many of these patients would not have been considered high risk for developing cancer.
Some experts have argued that even for high-risk women, prophylactic mastectomy is inappropriate, because not all breast tissue can be removed during a surgical procedure. In addition, the only groups undergoing prophylactic mastectomy that have been shown to possibly have a survival advantage are pre-menopausal women with endocrine receptor-negative breast cancers and women with a BRCA genetic mutation.