5 Ways to Recover and Restore Confidence After Breast Cancer Surgery
In most cases of breast cancer, women undergo surgery as part of their treatment. There are two basic types of surgery to remove breast cancer: lumpectomy and mastectomy. During a lumpectomy, the surgeon removes the breast tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue around it, but the remainder of the breast remains intact. Alternatively, the surgeon removes the entire breast during a mastectomy.
Regardless of the type, surgery causes changes to the body: breasts will have a different look and feel, and the surgical incisions will leave scars. These changes can be very upsetting for women and have a major impact on their self-image. For this reason, below we are providing 5 ways to look better after breast cancer surgery.
1. BREAST RECONSTRUCTION
Breast reconstruction is an option for women who want to restore their natural appearance after breast cancer surgery. During breast reconstruction, a plastic surgeon creates a breast shape using an artificial implant (implant reconstruction), a flap of tissue from another place on your body (autologous reconstruction), or both.
According to breastcancercare.org, studies have shown that immediate breast reconstruction can help a woman adjust to the changes to her body. Most women who have breast reconstruction are satisfied with the results and feel more confident afterwards.
2. AFTER SURGERY CARE
To help your breasts heal properly and to minimize scarring after breast cancer surgery, ensure that you are following your doctor’s post-op instructions exactly. If your incision is covered with steri-strips or paper tape, leave it on as long as directed. These help the wound heal by providing support and reducing tension on the incision.
Keep the incision area clean and dry after your surgery to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. This is crucial because both infections and inflammation can have a negative effect on scar appearance. According to a publication in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, bacteria have the ability to induce excessive collagen production in the scar tissue. When the body produces too much collagen during wound repair, a raised hypertrophic or keloid scar can result.
3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT BRA
If you’ve had a lumpectomy or a mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction, choosing the right bra for your new size can help you to look better after breast cancer surgery. In fact, statistics show that the majority of women wear the wrong size bra after surgery, which can affect how natural and comfortable your breast form will look and feel. There are many different bra styles to choose from that can accommodate the type of surgery that was performed as well as individual preference.
For example, a bra with a traditional strap is suitable when no tissue has been removed under the clavicle. Then there are some women, particularly those with fuller figures, that may benefit from the lift and separation of an underwire. Lastly, you’ll want to be measured for your band and cup size at least once per year to allow for changes in weight or body shape that may occur as a result of post surgery treatment.
4. DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR FAVORITE ASSETS
This bit of fashion advice is applicable to anyone, but is especially important for women to consider after breast cancer surgery. Prior to surgery, you may have worn clothing to flatter your breasts. You can still do so after surgery, if you feel comfortable. Don’t want to draw attention to your breasts? Wear clothing that features your favorite assets. Love your legs? Invest in some new skirts that show them off!
5. BEGIN SCAR TREATMENT EARLY
Beginning scar treatment early is a proven way to help you look better after breast cancer surgery. While you should follow your doctor’s specific instructions for when to start scar treatment, it is typically recommended once the wound is closed (10 to 14 days post-op). Clinical studies have shown that silicone gel and sheeting are considered the first-line therapy to manage and minimize scarring. These are the only topical treatments recommended by the scar experts who create scar treatment guidelines for other doctors.
NewGel+ offers the widest variety of silicone scar treatment products available, including products specifically designed for use after breast cancer surgery. You can begin using NewGel+ sheeting, strips and shapes, or NewGel+E, once your incision has fully healed, with no bleeding, scabbing, or oozing. The NewGel+ products let you take charge of your healing process and select the products that are right for your individual breast cancer surgery scars.
The NewGel+ Silicone 2" x 24" strips and 2” x 8” Strips are perfect for mastectomy and breast reconstruction scars, including scars resulting from flap removal. The strip can be cut into multiple pieces, allowing you to customize the length as needed and to get multiple uses out of one product. An extra bonus from using the silicone strips is that they provide protection and cushioning for sensitive scars and prevent clothing from rubbing uncomfortably over them.
Shop these NewGel+ products and more to take an important step toward looking better after breast cancer surgery.