Archives for July 2014

Breast Mass: Do I have Breast Cancer? What You Need to Know

Breast mass is a firm, sometimes tender, area within the breast tissue. Many women notice a breast mass at some point in their lives. There are many ducts and nodules within breast tissue and these can change with hormones and age. These changes are normal but you should not assume so until confirmed by a doctor. A breast mass can be scary when you do not know the cause, but there are many reasons for a breast mass to occur. The majority of breast masses are not cancer.

Treatment depends on the cause of the mass.


  • Apply a warm, moist compress to the breast area as needed but make sure your mass has been seen by a doctor
  • Place a towel between the compress and your skin.
  • Try gentle massage of the affected area only if the mass is not cancerous.
  • Wear well fitting bra. Make sure it is comfortable.

Keeping Track of Your Breast Mass

Your doctor may ask you to keep track of your breast mass. Some things to pay attention to include:

  • Do you feel pain or tenderness? Is it getting worse or better?
  • Do you notice the mass during your menstrual cycle or at other times?
  • Does the mass change size with your menstrual cycle or does it stay the same?
  • Has the mass grown or increased in size over time?
  • Is there any redness or discolouration in the skin above or around the mass?
  • Do you have nipple discharge? Notice the colour
  • Is the nipple on the affected breast pulled inwards?
  • Do you see “dimples” on the affected breast?

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • New or worsening sings & symptoms
  • Symptom goes on longer than 3 months. This is long enough
  • Signs of infection, including pus, redness, fever and chills
  • Increased pain & tenderness.
  • Discharge of any form from the breasts


NB: Breast cancer mass may be painless. It may not be threatening at the beggining. Always get a physician opinion when in doubt. Feel free to call or email us.

Taking Care of Yourself After Mastectomy. What You Need To Know

A mastectomy is surgery to remove part or the entire breast. This is usually done when breast cancer diagnosis indicates the malignancy is not contained in a very small area or when tests show a high risk of developing breast cancer. The incision is closed with stitches. In some cases, plastic drains are placed to drain fluid. They are usually removed in 1-2 days. Recovery time is about six weeks, assuming all normal circumstances

What You Will Need After Mastectomy:

  • Well-fitting support bra
  • Bandages for the incision area

Steps to Take After Mastectomy

Home Care After Mastectomy

  • Keep breast incisions clean and dry.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 1 minute before changing the bandages.
  • You may have one or more tubes to drain blood and fluids.
  • Empty the drains and measure the fluid. Report bright blood or pus to your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower. Do not bathe or soak in water until completely healed.
  • Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra.
  • Be sure to wear the bra all day and all night. Do this for the first week after surgery.

Diet After Mastectomy:

  • Ask your doctor if you can resume your normal diet.
  • It is important to avoid alcohol and concentrated sweets.
  • East a healthy well balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • If you are diabetic, keep close monitoring on your blood sugar levels. The goal is blood sugar levels less than 150mg/dl

Physical Activity After Mastectomy:

  • Ask your doctor when you can return to work and drive.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activity.
  • If you had lymph nodes removed or total radical mastectomy:
    • Avoid tight clothing on the affected arm.
    • Do not carry anything heavy using the affected arm.
    • Elevate your affected arm as much as possible.
    • Report excessive swelling to your doctor.
  • Ask your doctor about physical therapy. You may have to do exercises to help you regain shoulder and arm mobility.
  • In most cases, you can resume normal activities in six weeks.

Lifestyle Changes After Mastectomy:

  • Mastectomy is a life changing surgery. Work with your doctor will plan lifestyle changes that will aid in your recovery.
  • Light weight breast prosthesis can be work a month after surgery.
  • You can be fitted for a more permanent prosthesis after your incisions have healed.
  • Talk to your doctor about reconstruction surgery options

If you had lymph nodes removed, you take the following steps even after the recovery process:

  • No blood pressure, injections or blood draws on the affected arm
  • Avoid wearing anything tight on the affected arm.
  • Wear gloves when doing dishes, yard work, or any household scrubbing.
  • Avoid carrying anything heavy with that arm.
  • Always use an electric shaver when shaving your armpits.
  • Moisturize the skin on that arm.
  • Use sunscreen to prevent sun damage.

When to Call Your Doctor After Mastectomy:

After you leave the hospital, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills, redness or pus
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
  • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery.
  • or Nausea/vomiting which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
  • Redness, warmth, swelling, stiffness, or hardness in the arm or hand on the side of the body where the lymph nodes were removed
  • New, unexplained symptoms of any nature
  • Lumps or skin changes in remaining tissue on mastectomy side
  • Lumps, skin changes, or nipple drainage in remaining breast
  • Depression