5 Things Women Getting a Mastectomy Should Expect

If you have recently received a diagnosis of breast cancer, your doctor may have recommended surgery. Surgical options depend on many factors, but for some patients, the mastectomy is the best one. Before your surgery, there are some potential side effects you should consider.

1. Changes in Taste

After surgery and during treatment for cancer you may experience changes in taste and smell. Your favorite foods may no longer taste good to you. Cooking odors might nauseate you. Some patients benefit from eating foods at room temperature, as they smell less strongly. A simple change, such as using plastic utensils instead of metal forks or spoons, is sometimes helpful.


2. Phantom Pain

The surgical removal of a limb or breast often results in phantom pain. As the nerves heal, you might experience pain in tissue that is no longer there. As with any other pain you might experience, talk with your doctor if you need help managing phantom pain.

3. Throat Pain

Treatment after surgery can result in sores in the mouth and throat. This pain often makes eating difficult. You can reduce throat pain by eliminating acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, that make it worse. Frozen foods and ice chips can reduce the pain.


4. Down Time

Fighting cancer is often an emotional roller coaster. Plan to give yourself some down time to heal from the surgery. Many women also feel an emotional letdown after they finish their treatment.

5. Fatigue

Fatigue affects your quality of life. While you need rest, too much rest can make fatigue worse, so try to include exercise in your daily routine. Limit sweets, and try to include protein with each meal. Make sure you eat at least every four to five hours.


As you continue your battle, take some time to realize you are not alone. Many others face challenges after surgery that are similar to yours. To learn more about one woman’s decisions regarding reconstruction after breast cancer surgery, check out our post here.

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