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Recovery Tracker

Get Well Soon

Helping you make a speedy recovery after breast-conserving surgery

Recovery tracker

Days/Weeks Post Op How you might feel Things you can do safely Fit to work?

1 - 2 days

You will normally leave hospital the same day, or the following morning. You will have mild pain at the site of the scar. Find a comfortable non-underwired, sports-style bra; you can wear this at night too, to help support the breast.

You will feel more tired than normal. Take things easy.

  • Get up, get dressed, move around.
  • Eat and drink as normal.
  • Do the shoulder exercises if you have been given them.
  • If you feel tired, rest for a while and try moving around again later.

No

3 - 7 days

There should be less pain in and around your scar.
You’ll get tired more quickly than you did before the operation.

  • Continue as days 1–2.
  • Try to go for a walk at least once a day. If you have a dog and need to hold its lead, walking alone may be difficult if you have shoulder pain, or if you have had surgery to the armpit, so consider walking with a friend.
  • You may still occasionally need to take a mild painkiller at this time.
  • Check you do not have swelling or bruising at your wound site.

No

8 - 13 days

You’ll probably be able to do most things as normal most of the time, but you will still get tired. You might start to feel anxious about your results appointment – this is normal.

  • Continue to build up the amount of activity you’re doing towards your normal levels and keep up with the shoulder exercises if required.
  • Some women may want to try working from home at this point. Shoulder pain and armpit surgery may make it difficult to use a computer keyboard or even hold a telephone, so don’t try to do too much at this stage.

No

14+ days

You should be feeling physically stronger each day.

  • You should have had your follow-up appointment, had your scar checked, got your results back, and have discussed your treatment plan with your surgeon and breast care nurse. Most women are offered breast radiotherapy following lumpectomy, but not always.
  • If you require more surgery, your surgeon will discuss what further surgery is needed and when.
  • If you require radiotherapy, you will meet the specialist team and discuss your treatment.
  • If you require chemotherapy, you will be referred to the specialist teams for discussion about your treatment. Sometimes you may need both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If this is the case, you will be given chemotherapy first.
  • If you require anti-hormone treatment only, or even no further treatment, you can discuss with your GP and employer about planning a return-to-work date.
  • Keep up your shoulder exercises if you were asked to do them and keep up your walking.

Thinking about it; many women will be able to return to work in a management or light administrative role at this stage, starting with reduced hours while they settle in and regain fitness and confidence. Shoulder and arm symptoms may make it difficult to do some physical tasks, particularly heavy lifting or reaching. You should discuss adjustments to duties with your employer if you wish to return to work now.

6 weeks

Check your shoulder and arm movements are back to normal; if you have a stiff shoulder you will need to contact your GP, breast care nurse or surgeon. You may need to be referred to the physiotherapy team for additional help and exercises.

If you work, it’s your decision when you decide to go back, but if you’re off for too long, there’s a risk of developing problems to do with anxiety, isolation and lack of confidence. These could affect your quality of life in the long-term. Talk with your GP about how best to avoid this becoming a problem for you or have a chat with your occupational health doctor or nurse and employer about a gradual return.

Yes; although a few women may have problems with arm pain or swelling. They won't be harmed by work but may have difficulties reaching or with heavy lifting. A temporary change to lighter physical work and shorter hours can help.

It is common to feel tired towards the end of radiotherapy treatment and for a few weeks afterwards. Consider working reduced hours or fewer days for this period.


                                                 

When can I have sex?

For many women, being able to have sex again is an important milestone in their recovery. There are no set rules or times about when it’s right to do so other than whether it feels OK to you – treat it like any other physical activity and build up gradually.



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