mastectomy advice/support

mastectomy advice/support

mastectomy advice/support My partner, whose in her early 40’s is due to have a mastectomy in the next few weeks. She originally had a lumpectomy, but analysis of tumous wasn’t as good as hoped, so recommended course of treatment was chemo followed by mastectomy. She’s just completed chemotherapy. Throughout the whole process so far she has remained incredibly positive.

Because she may also need radiotherapy she has been told she can’t have immediate reconstruction.

I’m worried that she may be very down after the operation, coping with the loss. I can only imagine the emotional and psychological sense of loss a women can feel from losing a breast.

I want to support her as best as possible through the mastectomy. I wondered if anyone has advice on how both help her prepare for the operation, and to cope afterwards. Are there any books you can recommend? Are there any support or advice services that are good? Should she try and talk to other women who’ve had mastectomies?

I’m also worried about how I’ll feel, and react. She’s obviously still the same person before and after the operation, but her body will be very different. I’m worried that it’ll take me time to adjust to her changed body, and that this may add to the things she has to deal with. Is there any useful advice, support or guidance that i could use?

I know we have to take things a day at a time, and we can’t know how she or i will feel about the mastectomy till she’s had the operation and we have to cope with the reality. Any advice on how she/we/I can best prepare would be gratefully received.


Your partner’s very lucky to have someone so supportive and caring around her - I’m sure that’s an immense source of comfort!

I am 45 and had a mastectomy in March. I never much liked my breasts and certainly didn’t feel they were a huge part of my femininity, but when I first saw myself after the op, it was quite a shock. The scar/wound was very prominent and there was a lot of bruising. It looked awful. Now the wound is healing and looks better. However, it gets easier and I just look at myself and think ‘cancer gone’, rather than ‘breast gone’. I am not having reconstruction.

The op itself is not painful, just uncomfortable. It’s the emotional side that is the hardest to deal with. I am not married and do not have a partner so I can’t share how it affected another person - hopefully someone else will post who’s been there, done that…

Talking to one of the wonderful ladies on the helpline here would be good. I also read what to expect about the surgery on websites like cancerbackup and cancer research, and here. ( One piece of practical advice I got was to take button down pajamas to hospital - essential if she is having drains after op.)
It’s all emotionally draining as well as physically, but if she’s remained positive through chemo, I’m sure she’ll find a way to get through this as well.One step at a time.

Anyway, I’m rambling, but basically wanted to say that I’m sure you’ll get through it - together.

I wish you both the best of luck!!


hello, we are all different in how we deal with things, some take it harder than others.
i have had a mastectomy and knew it was the right thing to do at the time, i looked at the side of op the day after and thought, my this is a neat job. when i got home 6 days later, i looked in the mirror at my whole body and cried, it would never grow back, this was it.
as soon as i could after scar had healed i rubbed aloe vera into the scar to moisterise, this helped when i had rads as the skin was supple, you can use bio oil.
my husband was very loving and caring, i did keep slightly covered up when we were intimate so that he did not have to see the scar, as time has progressed i do not cover it up any more. there is no doubt it must make a difference, it will be as much a shock for you as your wife.
i have to say on a personal note that when i lost my hair, my husband found that more of a turn off as he said being attracted is a visual thing, this as you can imagine was very upsetting for me, we are fine now.
you will find a balance.
i wonder how many men are honest with their reaction to their wives after the op, not to say you should tell your wife if you are not coping but at the end of the day, you to will have a time of adjustment to make so don’t beat yourself up if that is the case.