1-518-580-2170


3040 Route 50
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

FAQs

GO TO: GENERAL FAQS   LUMPECTOMY FAQS   LYMPH NODE SURGERY FAQS   MASTECTOMY FAQS  


GENERAL FAQS

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the development of breast cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also does not have any evidence or research data that ingredient in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer. More information about what is currently known on this topic can be found at 
The National Cancer Institute's website.

We have a commitment to providing health care to all members of our community. Saratoga Hospital provides free cancer screenings for uninsured women (and men) through the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County. The screenings covered include clinical breast examinations, mammograms, Pap tests, and colorectal cancer screening. If an abnormality is found on the screening tests, the Cancer Services Program (CSP) also has resources to help with coverage of additional testing. If a cancer is found, the CSP staff can help with enrollment in the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program. The Cancer Services Program can be reached at 581-580-2132.
 
Saratoga Hospital also has a financial assistance program that makes financial aid available to all low-income, uninsured or under-insured individuals who qualify for help with their hospital bills. Specially trained navigators are available to help reduce financial barriers to care. 
More information is available here.

A screening mammogram is done for patients with no breast complaints. The standard views of the breast are taken, and the technologist will check to make sure the pictures are clear before you leave. The images are reviewed later in the day by a board certified radiologist. If no abnormalities are detected, both you and the provider who ordered the mammograms will get a letter in the mail with your results.

A diagnostic mammogram is done for evaluation of a breast concern or an abnormal screening mammogram. If you are complaining of a lump, the technologist may place a marker on your skin to indicate the area of concern. The radiologist reviews diagnostic mammograms right away and may direct the technologist to take additional mammograms, sometimes magnified or from a different angle, in order to evaluate the area fully. Results are shared with your provider and you as soon as they are available.

Thermography is a test that uses digital infrared imaging to evaluate the breast tissue. Cancers have increased blood flow and metabolism when compared to normal breast tissue, and, as a result, may generate heat. Thermography detects temperature variations in the breasts. Unfortunately, thermography technology has not yet advanced to deliver either the sensitivity or specificity of mammography, and it cannot substitute for mammography. Patients with abnormal thermography results require additional imaging with mammogram and/or breast MRI in order to localize the abnormality. Click to go to more information on the FDA website.


LUMPECTOMY FAQS

Yes. In fact, you should. Wear a bra for support at all times for 48 hours or more and then while you are awake for at least three weeks.

No. Reconstructive surgery is typically done after mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). A lumpectomy preserves the breast.

Drains are not usually placed in the breast after a lumpectomy.

There is always some pain after surgery, although each patient has a different experience.

  • You will have a prescription for pain medication. Take it as prescribed.
  • You may take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for mild/moderate discomfort. Follow the label instructions.
  • You may use an ice pack for relief of moderate pain or swelling. Apply to your breast intermittently (twenty minutes on/twenty minutes off).

You may remove the gauze bandage on the day after surgery. Leave the thin paper strips (steri-strips) in place. You may shower and get the strips wet. Just pat the area dry when you are done. The strips will start to come off in about a week.

If your incision is near the underarm, do not use deodorant until instructed by your surgeon, as it may cause irritation. (Usually you may resume in 1-2 weeks).

You may resume most normal activities as soon as you feel able. You will want to avoid jogging and jumping for at least a week, as the bouncing of your breasts will be very uncomfortable.

Driving will not hurt your surgical recovery, but you must think about safety. You should not drive if you are still taking prescription pain medication. You should also wait until you can move easily and comfortably.

You can be tired from the surgery, the anesthesia, or stress. Although you may have a small incision, your body is spending energy to heal your breast. Recovering from surgery is an emotional process as well as a physical one. Not only will you be tired from the anesthesia and healing, you may need time to catch up emotionally with all that has happened physically. Do not rush yourself. Your fatigue may last a few days or as long as a few weeks.
 

Your surgeon will contact you with the results as soon as they are available. Routine post-operative appointments are generally scheduled for 2-3 weeks after surgery. If you are having a problem, call the office to be seen sooner.

Go to the Lumpectomy page


LYMPH NODE SURGERY FAQS

Possibly. Your surgeon will decide if a drain is needed to remove the lymph fluid from the surgical area. If a drain is placed, you will be given drain care instructions. The drains are removed in the clinic once it drains less than 25 cc (ml) of fluid over a 24 hour period x 2 days in a row.

If no drain is placed, or after a drain is removed, it is possible to collect fluid under the incision. This is not harmful, although it can be uncomfortable. Contact your surgeon if this occurs, as the fluid can be easily removed in the office with local anesthetic and a small needle to aspirate (draw out) the fluid collection.

Generally there is more discomfort after axillary dissection than after a sentinel lymph node biopsy, but each patient has a different experience. You may experience post-operative pain at the incision, and possibly your back and upper arm.

  • You will have a prescription for pain medication. Take it as prescribed.
  • You may be more comfortable if you place a small pillow or folded cloth under the armpit.
  • You may also use an ice pack for relief of moderate pain or swelling.
  • Apply to the incision intermittently (twenty minutes on/twenty minutes off).

You may remove the gauze bandage on the day after surgery. Leave the thin paper strips (steri-strips) in place. You may shower and get the strips wet. Just pat the area dry when you are done. The strips will start to come off in about a week.

Do not use deodorant until instructed by your surgeon, as it may irritate your incision. (Usually you may resume in 1-2 weeks.)

Do not shave the underarm until your incision is well healed. Watch in a mirror when you do shave, since you may have decreased sensation in that area.
 

You may use your arm as much as it is comfortable to do so. The discomfort will lessen over a week or two, and you can increase your activity level as you feel better. It is not unusual to experience a “pulling” under your arm and have some restriction initially after surgery. Most patients benefit from therapy to help return to full arm function after surgery—such as the Saratoga Hospital Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program for Women with Breast Cancer. Your surgeon can make a referral.

Because lymph nodes have been removed from under the arm, it is important to watch out for and prevent infections in the arm on that side. Avoid cuts, scratches, irritations and burns as much as possible by doing the following:

  • Avoid blood drawing, injections, IV’s and blood pressures on the affected side.
  • Avoid tight jewelry or clothing on the affected arm.
  • Use insect repellant and protective sunscreen.
  • Carry your purse on the opposite shoulder.
  • ·Wear gloves for washing dishes and using cleaners and gardening.
  • Wear padded gloves for reaching into a hot oven.
  • Use care when shaving under the arm. Consider using an electric razor.
  • Do not cut your cuticles.
  • Use moisturizer to keep your skin soft and supple.

Driving will not hurt your surgical recovery, but you must think about safety. You should not drive if you are still taking prescription pain medication. You should also wait until you can move your arm easily. It is best to drive only short distances at first and gradually increase your driving time over a few days.

Go to the Lymph Node Surgery page


MASTECTOMY FAQS

Yes. Drains are placed under the skin to collect fluid for the first few post-operative days. When the drainage decreases, the drains are removed. Most patients are discharged from the hospital with drains still in place. You will be given instructions on drain care. Drains can be removed in the office.

Dr. Kennedy will contact you with the pathology results as soon as they are available. Generally, you will have a routine post-operative appointment scheduled 1-2 weeks after your drains have been removed.

Yes, although you will want to wait at least 6 weeks, until your incision has had time to heal, before you wear it. At your post-operative visit, you will be given a prescription for a breast prosthesis and bras. This prescription can be filled at any shop that supplies and fits breast prostheses.

There is always some pain after surgery, although each patient has a different experience. You may have post-operative pain at the incision, and possibly your back and upper arm. Immediately after surgery, you may be given pain medication intravenously or by injection. You will switch over to pills for pain once you are eating, usually the evening after surgery. You will be given a prescription for pain medication when you are discharged from the hospital.
 

You may use your arm for daily activities such as washing your face, combing your hair and dressing. Avoid heavy lifting and over-stretching. The discomfort will lessen over a week or two, and you can increase your activity level, as you feel better. It is very common to experience tightness across the chest and a “pulling” under your arm. Your surgeon will give you a referral to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program for Women with Breast Cancer, so that you can return to full function quickly and safely.

You may shower when you go home. Allow water to gently run over your incision, but please do not rub and scrub the area. Pat dry or air dry.

  • Do not use deodorant until instructed by your surgeon, as it may irritate your incision. (Usually you may resume in 1-2 weeks).
  • Do not shave the underarm until your incision is well healed. Watch in a mirror when you shave since you may have decreased sensation in that area.

Driving will not hurt your surgical recovery, but you must think about safety. You should not drive if you are still taking prescription pain medication. You should also wait until you can move your arm easily. It is best to drive only short distances at first and gradually increase your driving time over a few days.

Go to the Mastectomy page

 
Go to Top