What Happens After Surgery?
Your medical oncologist will meet with you shortly after your surgery, usually within a week and often on the same day as your post-operative appointment with your surgeon. At this time, we will have more definitive pathology results and a better profile of your cancer. Your case likely will have been discussed at the Weekly Breast Conference.
At this appointment, you’ll have as long as you need to discuss the findings and your options. Your doctor will review with you:
- Definitive surgical results
- Amount of cancer found during surgery
- Extent of involvement, if any, of lymph nodes or other organs
- In-depth findings of the pathology (cancer cells)
- Composition and type of cancer
- Stage of the cancer
- Probability of living free of disease through surgery alone
- Options for hormonal therapy or chemotherapy
- Options for radiation therapy
- Additional imaging studies indicated, if any
- Impacts of standard therapies as well as new therapies
- Risks of recurrence
- Novel therapies or clinical trials for which you qualify
- Impacts of treatment on fertility and premature menopause
- Lifestyle changes and recommendations
- Strategies and resources for dealing with pain, depression, side effects
- Your questions and concerns
- This visit is an opportunity for you to learn as much as you need and want to know about your disease and the options for your treatment
Therapy Begins: Let Your Nurse Case Manager Help See You Through
Once your course to recovery is charted, you’ll be assigned a nurse case manager who will help coordinate your care, answer your questions and hook you up to the resources you’ll need. Our Breast Cancer Unit nursing team members have specialized training and certification in oncology nursing, so they are attuned to the special needs of breast cancer patients.
“We can usually answer the question before it’s asked,” said Deborah Noell, R.N., BSN, OCN, who has worked with breast cancer patients for 17 years. “We triage with patients on a daily basis. We have the ability and the knowledge base to know what needs to be taken care of and expedited. We can allay anxiety and counsel patients, intervene early on with psychosocial issues and coordinate support groups and social services.”
Allow our nursing team to tackle your issues and concerns. Let them help you navigate our system so you can make the most of the many resources available to you. They will accompany you throughout the course of your treatment and follow-up care, which often continues for several years, so you’ve got a friend to walk you through it.