4 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself After Breast Cancer Surgery

If you're having a lumpectomy, chances are good that your recovery will be pretty uneventful, says Monica Morrow, MD, chief of the Breast Service in the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. "Outside of strenuous physical activity, most women are ready to return to regular physical activity in a period of five days after surgery," she says.

Mastectomies are more complicated, usually requiring an overnight hospital stay; expect it to take three to four weeks before your energy level is back to normal. "But when you go home from the hospital you can do most things; it's not like you're in bed for a month," says Dr. Morrow.

Here's what else doctors have to say about recovering from breast cancer surgery.

1. Keep moving. Becoming a couch potato isn't just bad for your state of mind, it also ups your risk for deep-vein thrombosis, which can turn into a life-threatening embolism in your lung. Keep the arm on the side of the mastectomy gently moving, too.

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Lead writer: Lorie Parch
Last Updated: May 17, 2008

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