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A doctor answers a patient questions

If your physician has recommended a total mastectomy to treat your breast cancer, you may feel overwhelmed. You probably have many questions running through your mind, but you also may not be sure what to ask. It’s important to remember that your physician is making recommendations based on what he or she thinks is best for you, so you should ask all the questions you have prior to receiving a total mastectomy.

Questions you should discuss with your physician

Here are some of the questions you should discuss with your physician if you’re considering a total mastectomy:

  • Is a less invasive option available? In many cases, a physician will recommend the least invasive option possible that will effectively treat the breast cancer. However, there may be alternative treatments to discuss depending on your condition, and you can always consult another physician for a second opinion before deciding on your treatment.
  • What are the risks involved? As with any surgery, a total mastectomy is not without risks. You will want to discuss any possible risks that are involved based on your current condition and your medical history.
  • How should I prepare for a total mastectomy? Your physician will provide you with an overview of what to expect before and after the procedure, but there may be specific instructions or guidelines if you are currently taking medications or receiving other treatments.
  • How long will it take to recover? The recovery process will vary based on the patient. Factors such as whether breast reconstruction was performed immediately following the surgery may lengthen the amount of time it takes to fully recover.
  • What are the side effects? Following the surgery, it is normal to experience pain, tenderness and swelling at the site of surgery as well as limited arm or shoulder movement. These symptoms will subside as you recover from the procedure.
  • Will I need any other treatments? Your treatment plan is determined based on many complex factors, such as the type and stage of the cancer as well as your overall health and personal preferences. If additional therapies are recommended, you should make sure you understand how they will fit into your treatment plan with the total mastectomy.
  • Is breast reconstruction an option? The patient’s personal preferences will determine if breast reconstruction is an option. However, it should be discussed prior to surgery so the surgeon and plastic surgeon can plan ahead.

Moffitt Cancer Center welcomes you to schedule an appointment and discuss your questions about a total mastectomy in detail. You can call 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online to schedule a consultation.