Findings underscore importance of prevention efforts
by Terriet on Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:00 AM
by bluefootedbooby on Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:00 AM
by jodysboys on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:00 AM
I had a lumpectomy and a lymph node disection in July 08. I am now completing (only 3 treats. left!!) chemo and then will have radiation after that.
Yeah, the bra thing was an issue for me, too. All my surgery was on one side and mostly under the right armpit area. I also had a port surgically put in for the chemo which was located on my left upper chest area, about where a bra strap and bra come together. So, it was a bit of a double-trouble thing.
I was also told that a sports bra would be the best, but it was not very comfortable for me. I found them to be too tight and consticting after about an hour or so on. So, I began a pretty long search for a comfortable solution. I even went to a specialty bra shop without much luck. After trying and collecting (and I'm not exagerating) about 20 different bras I decided to see what I could do on my own to modify a bra and make it work well.
Now, this may not help you, because we are all made differently. I am a size 36A. I'm pretty bony, especially in the upper body area. This might not work for a woman with a larger breast size than say a B cup. But this is what I did and has since worked for me:
Find a bra that is comfortable for you now. For support I picked a fairly thickly padded push-up type bra that was cut a bit like a demi-bra. This type of bra seems to give me support with out the binding feeling. Most of the bras like this have underwires and/or stays. I removed the underwires and side stays by cutting a very small slit in the casing that the underwire is in. I pulled out the underwires. I took the side stays out too doing the same thing. But if you are not having surgery in this area you may want to try and leave these in at first. Also, because you are removing the underwires I found that a bra with slightly thicker width straps was more comfortable.
I my case, the port was also an issue. The location of the strap, even on a demi bra, was painful. So, I moved the bra strap over about 1-inch toward the side by removing the stitching and then re-stitching the strap where I wanted it. Had to do that on both sides so the bra would fit evenly. As I said, this may or may not work for women with a larger breast size.
As for the down time you should really ask your doc. But even with a lumpectomy and a node dissection with a drain I was back to fairly normal activity in about 12 or 14 days. I think it may depend on your level of activity at work, though.
Best of luck to you.
by trehouse60 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:00 AM
On 1/10/2009 Terriet wrote:I am trying to get prepared for lumpectomy and radiation. I currently wear a back closing underwire bra. I dont' think that will be comfortable following the lumpectomy. Does anyone have suggestions of a specific bra that worked well following lumpectomy? Any other suggestions for things I will need during recovering and an idea on how long it takes to recover? Trying to get an idea of how many days I can anticipate to take off work. I'm sure alot of this depends on the extensiveness of the surgery and the individual. But I would appreciate any suggestions.
Reach for Recovery can help you find a comfortable support bra. Your surgeon's office should have contact information for a local Reach for Recovery representative. You can also look at this information on Reach for Recovery posted by the American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ESN/content/ESN_3_1x_Reach_to_
Underwire bras very definitely are NOT a good idea after lumpectomy - very restrictive and put a lot of pressure on delicate tissue. A lot of women find that sports bras - especially the all cotton ones - work very well - either front-closure or the ones with no fasteners at all. (Front closure has the advantage of being able to undo some of the hooks without removing the bra if you find yourself needing less pressure on the chest.) The big thing to concentrate on is limiting pressure on the shoulder, and beneath the breast on the operative side.
Personally, I do not wear a bra at all anymore. I had my surgeries in 2002 - for years I followed the male surgeon's recommendation to always wear a good supportive bra, and for years I was in agony. When I was being worked up for metastatic cancer in Feb 2007, I mentioned my discomfort to the female oncologist I had gone to for a 2nd opinion. Her response was she recommends for ALL her breast cancer patients: if wearing a bra causes pain or discomfort, don't wear one. I took my bra off in the restroom before driving home that day, and I haven't worn one since, and I no longer have the pain and discomfort.
Certainly a bra can relieve pressure on suture lines immediately after surgery - a somewhat loose-fitting soft sports bra will take care of that - you can go ahead and get one to take with you to the hospital so you have it to wear home. But my best advice is, if you don't want to wear a bra after your incision is healed - DON'T! (Some theorize that the restrictions of a bra on the flow of lymph fluids withing the breasts may actually contribute to breast cancer, and recommend that unless a woman is just really uncomfortable without the support of a bra, that she not wear one.)
Yes, I do understand that for many not wearing a bra raises issues with body - image, and many larger-breasted women need tthe support; I am not trying to disrepect anyone for whom that may be true. My partner would go braless in public for NO amount of money, and she wears a very old but comfortable bra even to bed, because she feels better with the support.
There is excellent information on bras and breast health in Dr Susan Love's Breast Book (get the 4th edition as it is most current.) Many women consider it to be THE bible on the breast - it really is an excellent resource. Also, http://www.imaginis.com is an excellent site for information about breast cancer treatment and recovery. There are also some excellent articles on www.cancerlynx.com.
I returned to work 2 weeks after my lumpectomy. Of course it depends on how soon your surgeon is willing to release you to go back to work, and what type of work you do, but I really do recommend not trying to push to go back sooner than the dr recommends. Recovery isn't just physical; you may well have some emotional / psychological healing to do before you are ready to be out in the world. There are some specifics about your cancer that you won't know until after the actual surgery - just how involved is the cancer, how much did the surgeon have to remove, how do you feel about what your breast is going to look like. Getting those answers can bear a toll. Some women breeze through these things without a 2nd thought - for others, they can represent a hitch in the get-along, like dealing with an extremely tight immediate dead-line to get a certain piece of work done, focusing all your energy on getting it done, and then afterward having the shakes as all the adrenaline subsides. So much time and energy goes into finding out you have cancer, learning what to do about it, getting ready for surgery, dealing with all the anxiety and uncertainly, and for some women, the first couple of weeks after surgery can be a pretty emotional time.
I recommend using time before surgery to get big projects at home out of the way . Get the house in order as much as possible. Prepare some crock pot meals, casseroles, etc, that can be frozen and then easily re-heated. Keeping busy helps keep the mind off the "what if's." It's also good preparation for recovery days - gives you the freedom to concentrate on getting well. I also recommend that you deliberately spend some time having fun - goes a long way toward boosting the immune system, as well as shoring up a positive attitude.
Also use this time to learn the exercises you will need to do after surgery to strengthen your muscles and speed healing. e.g. standing in front of a wall and walking the fingers of your affected arm up the wall, isometric exercise of pushing one palm against the other, raising your arms in an arc to the sides and then stretching toward the ceiling. Already having the muscle memory of doing these things will make it easier to start right away to do them after surgery. Do not OVERDO, but be careful yet zealous about these exercises - they will speed you to recovery, and help to prevent formation of restrictive scar tissue in your breast.
I wish you the best with your surgery, treatment and healing.
by cacann on Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:00 AM
You may not need my input as you have gotten a few great responses. I am on the large breast size and found the very soft stretch sports bras and sleeper bras worked the best for me. It hurts to try to sleep without some support. As I healed, I graduated to my regular bras (not underwires). Be sure to do the exercises they tell you to do. Helps a lot!
Time off depends on your healing.
by Tallulah on Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:00 AM
There is a company called Sassybax that make a bralette. It looks like a sports bra but it is not as tight. My stepmom had a masectomy & only wore a sports bra until I gave her one of these from my lingerie store. she loves them! good luck!
by Shemay on Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:00 AM
by dessy on Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:00 AM
My rads onc recommended getting the very biggest sports bras I could find. I found some very big ones - they are ideal because the bottom of the bra comes down lower than usual (VERY IMPORTANT when you're going thru rads) yet it keeps you from jiggling around.
Best of luck to you!
by brstcasurvivor on Sat Jan 08, 2011 09:27 PM
Hi I just had a lumpectomy + lymph nodes removal and my doctor suggested a good sports bra was what was needed...I could not raise my arm over my head...so most sports bras were out..I checked online at walmart...found a sports bra...with hook closure at front goes up pretty high..and if you have a jp drainage tube post op...you can manuever the tube between the hooks...work fairly well...for me. I bought 2 diff sizes..as due to swelling your current size wont work...too binding...I slept with my bra on..support was much better on the breast which is swollen and the under arm is also somewhat swollen both inside and outside...the bras are 2 for $10 fruit of the loom...not that I am past the post op..no more tubes..stitches removed...and heading back to work after 4 wks..my drs treatent plan...everyone is diff..so dont dispair...I am cancer free..after the lump was removed...every test came back w/great results margins negative..nodes were negative..the hormone tests were positive (as should be) so I am taking a hormone pill for the next 5 yrs...mammogram 3 every 6 months for 3 yrs..f/u w/surgeron at 5 yrs...radiation begins Monday daily 5 days a wk for 6 wkis...and I see my medical oncologist every 3 months...with God's will and all my family and friends behind...me...I will too get past this...I am joing a brst ca support grp...very helpful...please check under the american can society...lots of resources for brst cancer patients...assistance from help with cleaning your home to gas cards for drs visits...God bless you and I pray all goes well for you...Syl
by mimmi on Sat Feb 05, 2011 02:00 AM
I did not wear a bra after I had my lumpectomy'wanted the area to heal naturally w/o any material rubbing or touching it-Im small chested so makes it easier
I had my lumptecomy on a monday afternoon (slepy home
that night ) and was the grocery store the next morning
(Living in the city I walk there ) I would say it took me only 3 days to feel totally back to normal.
I did not need the pain meds that I was sent home with
I did not need the ice packs ( for swelling )
I know that OI was very luck to have had such an easy time with the lumperctomy, and the radiation that followed
I am now 6 years cancer free
gd luck to you
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