What Happens After Breast Cancer Surgery?
Your medical oncologist will meet with you shortly after your surgery, usually within a week and often on the same day as your post-operative appointment with your surgeon. At this time, we will have more definitive pathology results and a better profile of your cancer. Your case likely will have been discussed at the weekly breast conference.
This appointment is an opportunity for you to learn as much as you want to know about your disease and the options for your treatment.
Your doctor will review with you:
Working with a breast cancer rehabilitation therapist, for lymphedema and other side effects, is part of standard post-surgery treatment. Find out more.
- Definitive surgical results
- Amount of cancer found during surgery
- Extent of involvement, if any, of lymph nodes or other organs
- In-depth findings of the pathology (cancer cells)
- Composition and type of cancer
- Stage of the cancer
- Probability of living free of disease through surgery alone
- Options for hormonal therapy, chemotherapy or radiation therapy
- Additional imaging studies indicated, if any
- Impacts of standard therapies as well as new therapies
- Risks of recurrence
- Novel therapies or clinical trials for which you qualify
- Impacts of treatment on fertility and premature menopause
- Lifestyle changes and recommendations
- Strategies and resources for dealing with pain, depression and side effects
- Your questions and concerns
Top-Notch Nurse Care
“We can usually answer the question before it’s asked. We triage with patients on a daily basis. We have the ability and the knowledge base to know what needs to be taken care of and expedited. We can allay anxiety and counsel patients, intervene early on with psychosocial issues and coordinate support groups and social services.”
-- Deborah Noell, RN, BSN, OCN
Once your course to recovery is charted, you’ll be assigned a nurse case manager who will:
- Coordinate your care
- Answer your questions
- Connect you to the resources you’ll need
- Tackle your issues and concerns
- Help you navigate our system
- Accompany you throughout the course of your treatment and follow-up care
Our nursing team members have specialized training and certification in oncology nursing, so they are attuned to the special needs of breast cancer patients. Treatment and follow-up care can last for several years, and our nurses will be there every step of the way. For more information on radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other therapies, see Treatment Options
If your treatment plan includes radiation therapy, Moores Cancer Center offers a comprehensive radiation oncology center. It has the most advanced treatments available, including image-guided radiation therapy systems, and includes one of the busiest and most diverse brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy) programs in the country. We were one of the first centers in the country to offer brachytherapy via the SAVI applicator, a device that delivers precisely targeted doses of radiation to tissues surrounding a lumpectomy cavity while minimizing radiation to healthy tissue.
For more information, see Radiation Oncology.
Today’s chemotherapy drugs can often be taken at home. If you need infusion therapy, or chemotherapy drugs delivered intravenously, you’ll come to the Infusion Center at Moores Cancer Center. For more information, see Infusion Center.