Make sure you're clear on the answers to all of these questions before your lumpectomy or mastectomy.
2. What's involved with this surgery? Make sure you understand what will actually happen during your procedure, including the sentinel node biopsy if one will be done. If it is done, you'll be under anesthesia longer as your surgeon will be getting the lymph nodes tested to see if they show cancer cells. If they do show it, your surgeon will mostly likely do an axillary lymph node dissectionalso while you're still outin order to remove the lymph nodes.
3. What's the recovery like? Find out how long you'll be in the hospital or clinic (a lumpectomy is an out-patient procedure); how long the recovery period will be; any limitations to activity (you're generally not supposed to drive right after a mastectomy, for example); any changes in sensation to your breast to expect; and what to expect in the appearance of your breast(s).
5. How do I take care of myself after the surgery? Your doctor or her nurse should take time to talk to you about wound care, dealing with drains, and when to come back to see your surgeon after your operation for a check-up.