How to Prepare for a Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a surgery that removes all or part of the breast. It is a common treatment for breast cancer, but it can also be used to treat other conditions, such as severe breast pain or infection.

Preparing for a mastectomy can be a daunting task, but there are things you can do to make the process easier. Here are some tips:

Before Surgery 

    • Talk to your doctor. Ask your doctor any questions you have about the surgery, such as the type of mastectomy you will have, what to expect during recovery, and the risks and benefits of the procedure.
    • Get your affairs in order. This includes things like arranging for child care, pet care, and transportation to and from surgery.
    • Gather your supplies. You will need to pack a bag for the hospital, including comfortable clothes, toiletries,and a book or magazine to read.
    • Stop smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of complications after surgery.
    • Start walking. Walking is a great way to improve your circulation and prepare your body for surgery.
    • Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet will help you heal faster after surgery.
    • Relax and de-stress. Find healthy ways to relax and manage stress, such as yoga or meditation.

Day of Surgery 

    • Eat a light breakfast. You will need to stop eating and drinking several hours before surgery.
    • Take your medications. Your doctor will tell you which medications you should take and when.
    • Shower and wash your hair. You will not be able to shower or wash your hair for several days after surgery.
    • Dress comfortably. Wear loose-fitting clothing that is easy to put on and take off.
    • Bring your bag. Pack your bag with the supplies you will need for your hospital stay.

After Surgery 

    • Take it easy. You will likely feel tired and sore after surgery. Rest as much as possible.
    • Take your pain medication. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help you manage your discomfort.
    • Ice your incisions. Icing your incisions can help reduce swelling and pain.
    • Elevate your arms. Elevating your arms can help reduce swelling and pain.
    • Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet will help you heal faster.
    • Get regular exercise. Start slowly with gentle exercises, such as walking.
    • Follow your doctor's instructions. Your doctor will give you specific instructions for how to care for your incisions and manage your recovery.
    • Join a support group. Connecting with other women who have had a mastectomy can be a great source of support and information.

Additional Tips

    • Talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you cope with the emotional challenges of having a mastectomy.
    • Consider breast reconstruction. Breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure that can help restore the appearance of your breasts.
    • Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you need help with anything, don't be afraid to ask your family, friends, or healthcare team for support.


Preparing for a mastectomy can be challenging, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this process, and with a little planning and preparation, you can get through it.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

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