Life after a mastectomy

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By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi– For Rajshree, life was pretty normal. At 45, she held a high corporate position and was excelling in her career. The job, requiring work long hours, high pressure and a deadline-driven schedule, meant she was missing her doctor consultations. When she did make an appointment, her diagnosis revealed quadrant multicentric disease with positive cancer nodes in the breast cells.

She was advised to undergo modified radical mastectomy to treat her condition and she went through the procedure with axillary clearance. She had to quit her job to recover from the surgery and follow a lifestyle that included an antioxidant diet, regular exercise and a good amount of sleep. While her family had to support her during the recovery period and all of them made some adjustments, Rajshree is now back to work and is leading a healthy and confident life, shares Apollo Spectra Hospital Koramangala.

Dr Nanda Rajaneesh, a Surgical Oncologist and Laparoscopic Surgeon at the Bengaluru-based hospital, tells IANSlife: “Breast cancer can be prevented through a mastectomy, a surgery that removes all the breast tissues from the breast that are cancerous. Mastectomy is recommended at the early-stage of breast cancer when lumpectomy is no more an option.”

Life after mastectomy can be very easy with a few simple lifestyle changes like:

� Maintaining a healthy weight- Recovering from cancer is an exhausting and life changing experience. After a mastectomy the patient needs to maintain an ideal body weight by avoiding excess consumption of carbs and junk food. A healthy weight will ensure a speedy recovery and also reduce the chances of return of the cancer.

� Cancer fighting foods and regular workout- The survivors should include foods that are high in carotenoids which are antioxidants like carrots, sweet potato, squash and melons. The diet can also include soy foods and organic foods. To avoid lymphedema the survivors have to follow an arm exercise throughout their life. Vitamin D supplements are also very important after a mastectomy.

Avoid smoking and consumption of alcohol- The survivors of breast cancer are always at a risk of developing cancer twice and it’s imperative the patients avoid smoking or consumption of alcohol in any form.

While there are no major risks associated with the mastectomy, says the doctor, patients might experience pain and loss of sensation underarm due to axillary clearance. Some patients will also notice pain and stiffness in the shoulder area but it can be cured through regular arm exercise.

Consistency in physiotherapy will also help to avoid further problems like lymphedema. After the surgery the patients are left with a hard scar tissue at the surgical site. Women can opt for the reconstruction of the breast to feel more confident about themselves. (IANS)

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