How to Get Back to Your Normal Life After Breast Cancer Surgery

Returning to your everyday life after a breast cancer surgery can be challenging. You may have undergone weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, followed by major surgery. Data shows that as much as 72% of women choose mastectomy, whereas 28% choose breast conservation surgery, after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Here are some tips on how to get back into the swing of things post-surgery:

Immediate Post-Surgery Care

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room and moved to an inpatient room. You will probably feel groggy and tired for several days after your surgery. It’s normal to have some pain in your chest or back. This is usually controlled with medication prescribed by the surgeon or hospital staff.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Swelling of lymph nodes under arms or on the neck
  • Bruising around the armpit area where lymph nodes were removed
  • Painful drainage from the incision site as fluid builds up during the healing process

Post-surgery recovery includes following medication prescriptions and possibly consulting surgeons at NQMIS Townsville for optimal recovery


The next step toward recovery after breast cancer surgery is to rest as much as possible for about three weeks after the operation. This means no strenuous exercise or lifting heavy objects. You should especially take care if you’ve had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, which involves removing all of your breast tissue. You need all your energy saved up for healing.

The third step involves stretching exercises, such as slowly moving arms overhead while lying on one side. Then, bending over at waist level while holding onto something sturdy like a chair rail.

Breast Reconstruction After Surgery

Once you’ve recovered from the initial surgery, you can opt for breast reconstruction. During surgery, some or most parts of your breast may be removed to eliminate all the cancerous tissues. This can hinder your appearance, which can significantly impact your mindset.

Hence, to get back to normal, going back to looking at what you used to be can help. According to Sherif Wilson, breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure to restore the shape of the breast. It can be performed within a few weeks after breast cancer surgery or at the same time as your mastectomy.

Breast cancer survivors who have undergone this procedure report feeling more confident in their appearance. This surgery has helped them regain their normal lives after cancer treatment.

Hence, many women opt for breast reconstruction after undergoing breast cancer surgery. For instance, a recent survey shows that 1 in 4 patients having undergone a mastectomy have an immediate reconstruction in the UK.

You can opt for an immediate or delayed breast reconstruction according to your preference. Selecting a plastic surgeon in your locality to get breast reconstruction without traveling is advised. So, suppose you live in Bristol in the UK and want immediate breast reconstruction like the other 1 in 4 patients. In that case, you should look for a plastic surgeon with experience performing breast reconstruction in Bristol.

Long-term Recovery and Rehabilitation

Long-term recovery and rehabilitation is not something that you can do on your own. It’s essential to have the support of family and friends during this time.

Here are some things you can do for long-term recovery and rehabilitation:

Emotional and Psychological Support

Emotional and psychological support is crucial for long-term recovery. In addition to breast cancer surgery’s physical effects, you may experience emotional changes during treatment.

Feelings like loss of body image can make it difficult to do everyday tasks such as grocery shopping at the store. If these feelings become overwhelming, seek help from a mental health counselor specializing in breast cancer patients’ needs. Many hospitals have specialists available through their own programs or external agencies.

Nutritional Considerations

Nutrition plays a vital role in the recovery process. A healthy diet can help you feel better, recover faster, and reduce your risk of developing future health problems. The following guidelines will help ensure that you’re getting the nutrients your body needs:

  • You can get help from a dietician to create a diet that can quickly regain your health. Hence, many women consult with a dietician, especially if they have problems like diabetes. A study of around 200 patients revealed that 73% of women with diabetes received advice from health professionals for their diet.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout each day to keep everything functioning correctly.
  • Avoid sugary foods like soda pop because they can lead to weight gain over time, hurting healing time after surgery. Too much daily sugary fluid intake, especially if taking painkillers, may cause nausea later.

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Physical therapy can help you return to normal activities and live a whole life without pain or discomfort. You should seek help from a physical therapist after a breast cancer surgery.

Your physical therapist will provide exercises targeting specific areas of weakness, such as the shoulder, chest, back, etc. These exercises should be done thrice weekly for about 15 minutes each session until you no longer need them.

You can also do some simple exercises at home. For instance, you can stand with feet together and raise one arm overhead while keeping the other by your side. Next, you can hold for 5 seconds and switch arms before repeating several times on each side.

A survey in Bristol revealed that women are at risk of developing shoulder-related problems after breast cancer surgery. A physiotherapist often assists women with exercise therapy and behavioral counseling to improve their quality of life.

Lifestyle Changes for a Healthier Future

You can also make some lifestyle changes to ensure a healthier future after the breast cancer surgery:

  • Exercise regularly. You can start by walking daily or even doing some light housework. Your body will thank you for it.
  • Eat healthy foods and avoid junk food, especially if they make you feel sick after eating them.
  • Sleep enough at night so your body and mind can heal in peace each day.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking because both are bad for our health, especially when combined with chemotherapy drugs.

Support Networks and Resources

Support networks of family and friends are an essential part of your recovery. If you don’t have someone to lean on, try searching for a support group. You can also look for a therapist who works with breast cancer patients. You can also search for websites and blogs to get resources that can help you recover.

Physical therapists are often an excellent resource because they can help guide you through exercises that improve mobility and ease pain. Dieticians can provide information about nutrition during treatment and after surgery. Some surgeons even require their patients to follow a specific diet until all tissue has adequately healed.

Such professionals can help you recover quickly. Moreover, they will also have the knowledge to guide you in the right direction. Hence, you should never refrain from seeking their help when required.

Data shows that The ‘Beating Cancer Plan’ is quite effective in Europe, where nutrition is essential. At least 25% of the world’s cancer cases are reported from Europe. So, if Europeans take food seriously, it must be crucial for recovering your health, too.


We hope this article has given you some helpful tips for getting back on track after breast cancer surgery. The most important thing to remember is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each person’s recovery time will depend on their unique circumstances and needs. While it may take longer than expected before returning to work or other activities, don’t let that discourage you from trying.

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