Recovery time after mastectomy

Hi all,  I had mastectomy for right breast on 20/2/17. My doctor has gave me a line until 11/4/17.  I do not require further treatment, which I am truly thankful for.  I feel ok and go do light housework then feel tired, is this normal after over three weeks?  I also would like to know when I can drive, my doc says when comfortable doing emergency stop how will I know when this is, my arm and chest still feel quite numb.  Any advice would be great. Thanks x

Hi there it is still early stages. Recovery takes time both physically and emotionally. I had left sided mascetomy with implant on 14 March Did you have a reconstruction at same time. I will have to wait to find out whether further treatment is needed.

It is best to rest I am learning this. I am confined at home because I can’t wash myself properly because of dressings. This will give me opportunity to get the rest needed until dressings appointment.

I may not be able to give you brilliant advice but someone told me to listen to your body.

Take things easy

Best wishes x x

Hi janet, as ginger nut says listen to your body. I started driving and returned to yoga 3 weeks after my mastectomy and implant reconstruction (sept 14). But we’re all different and depends on your activity level prior to surgery. Give it time x



What you have to remember is that you have had an aneasthetic which can take several weeks to get out of your system initially so that is going to make you tired, that on top of the fact that you have had major surgery, you need to be kind to yourself and take things a little at a time.


I have had a very lucky journey with my bc, I had a lumpectomy in oct 16 and then 20 sessions of rads which finished in jan this year, I have worked reduced hours up until 4 weeks ago and now back on my normal 25 hours a week, I still have times when I will just all of a sudden fall asleep for 10 minutes which is the fatigue taking over, then I am fine again.


In the booklet I was given it said the same about the emergency stop but to wait about two weeks after before trying.  I waited about four weeks simply because I was not confident of trying and when I did I just did a short journey at a quiet time of the day.  I think as well it depends on the which side you had the op, mine was right breast so my seatbelt did not catch my scars, but when I was a passenger a couple of weeks previously I ended up holding the seatbelt away from my body.


Just be kind to yourself, your body will tell you when it is ready to do things,


Helena x

Hi Janet

I waited six weeks after my MX and ANC to drive but probably could’ve driven a bit earlier if I’d wanted to. I had a bit of cording and also ongoing numbness down the back of my arm but, what I wanted to mention, is the need to keep up with the exercises. I did the physio exercises religiously after the op and had a great range of movement BUT shouldn’t have stopped. Probably due to scar tissue and lack of full movement I have recently realised that I can no longer move my arm into the extreme range. Am so cross with myself for not noticing earlier. I am trying through gentle stretching to improve it but prevention would have been better than cure. 

Alll the best

Hi Janet, I think feeling tired is probably normal, after just three weeks - after all, your body has had to adjust physically, and also emotionally, and this takes time… I had my mastectomy last April, was beginning to feel more like my normal self about by 4 weeks later (just prior to undergoing my next lot of surgery).


As we live in a rural area, I was determined to drive as soon as possible, but wasn’t sure when I would be considered safe to do so, having been given similar ‘emergency stop’ advice to you. But once I was able to turn the steering wheel, put the handbrake on without any pain or strain, and felt I could react quickly enough should an emergency situation arise, I let my insurance company know that I’d had the surgery, and they were happy for me to start driving again once I felt ready - apparently there is no definitive guidance, as everyone’s recovery time is different…  


Re the numbness, for me, this continued for quite a few months, and the top of my arm is still numb one year on, but this may also be due to having had the lymph nodes removed in a second op.  The hospital gave me exercises to do, I massaged my scar with bio-oil, and regularly used the affected arm without putting any strain on it by lifting heavy items - I think these may all have helped reduce the numbness, so might be worth doing, if you’ve not tried these already?


Wishing you all the best for your recovery.

Hello,   I had a complex right breast mastectomy Oct 2017.   The doctor was going to remove a large protruding lump until he opened me up.  He found a baseball size cancer mass so had to make the cut

much larger.  AS a result he cut a 22 inch incision to create a soft tissue flap to pull up skin to cover the large

wound area.   Needless to say there is incredible healing needing to happen.  Has anyone else had to have

a large area opened up and your recovery time and healing?    Thanks much

Hi, i had lumpectomy and 3 nodes removed. equivalent of 29 sessions of rads. Almost 12 months on i am facing mastectomy. I keep getting internal infections in my cancer site and node removal site.I am terrified, i am so angry that i have comne this far and been thru treatment and now am looking at losing my breast anyway. I have decided if 1 goes they both go. Has anyone had a similar thing? anyone know healing time for double with NO reconstruction? Any advice pre or post surgery? Anything?

Take your time. I had my mastectomy with reconstruction at end of October 2013 and returned to work following March 2014 cos my boob swelled up and so I couldn’t drive or cut with a knife. Had done too much possibly or reacted to something- had expected to be back and driving after 12 weeks. But we’re all different.
Nurse told me to go back when 100% fit so I’d return and run!