Recovery time from Mastectomy


Could anyone please help me - what is the recovery time from having a mastectomy. After 4 years of fighting cancer, and just finished my 2nd lot of intravenous chemo in Feb this year, my onc has agreed to have either the lump removed from my boob or a full mastectomy, as my latest ct scan has shown no visible cancer at present on my liver. Whether it is just too small to be picked up or I have sort of won the fight is anyones guess, but least now I can go back to the start and remove the original lump, which I can feel all the time and stresses me out.

So I was wondering what the recovery time is from the op for single or double mastectomy and what to expect really.

Thanks for your time

Hi Dawn, I had an mx on April 4th. I was able to do most things after a week or two and was back at work after 4 weeks. With hindsight another week off would have been good. Everyone is different and that’s just for a single mx. Hope that helps Xx

Hi Dawn, had bilateral on 8 March and struggled for a couple of weeks. I felt much better after a month, then improved steadily. I’ve been back at work since 9 May, but I have a very physical job so it would’ve probably been about 6-8 weeks with a more sedentary job. It’s important to be kind to yourself and take it easy - lots of us seem to overdo it especially in week 2 when you feel a bit better, then you suddenly seize up and wish you hadn’t!
I feel great now, had a couple of complications but nothing major, and they sorted themselves out on their own.
Lots of love

Hi Dawn

I had an mx on the left side 6 years ago, and I was a mess afterwards. Lymph nodes removed, and my arm was very weak for months.

However (don’t panic yet!) I had an mx on the other breast last year, and this time I was up and functioning normally after 2 weeks. Could do most everything after 1 week itself.

The difference I found this time is my fitness levels. I’d been doing a lot of push-ups before the second surgery and this strengthened my upper body and helped me to recover faster. So if you can exercise and do pushups in the weeks before your surgery, go for it.

Wishing you all the best! XOXO

surprised to be posting on this thread because i only had a WLE and one little node taken.But i saw the comment about push ups.

I did not do push ups but i printed of the excercises you are supposed to start straight after surgery and did them for two weeks before.Firstly to learn them and see what my body was capable of. I am 64 and thought I might not be as supple as a younger woman so thought if I knew what I could do before surgury I would have something to aim for. But I also had this notion that if the muscles had been strenghtened before the op they would recover better.

well it has certainly paid off. The physio that came to the ward could not believe my range of movement and quickly put me onto the next set of excercises. Now I am about to start the next set a week early too.

Mx is a much bigger op and I cannot help on recovery times for that, but it does seem that the better you can prepare yourself before hand by getting yourself as strong as you can after the chemo the quicker you will recover

Hi Old and lumpy

That’s really helpful and no one at the hospital has mentioned these exercises. YOu say you printed out the exercises that you’re supposed to do…where did you get this list? I’d love to start. I’m having an MX on the 19th July - I could get a couple of weeks worth in!

Does anyone else have some good tips for getting over an MX? Mental or physical?

Dawn I was feeling sorry for myself for having to have an MX and then read your post and your worries about whether or not your liver has been affected. I will now get a grip and get to packing boxes for a house move in a week’s time instead of crying. I hope it goes well for you and it’s not that it’s too small to pick up - it just doesn’t exist at all. Thank you.

Alison xx

well they are somewhere on this site, but I cannot for the life of me find them now. I think I google breast surgery excercises and when i found some they were form breastcancer care, or perhaps that is in my imagination. I dont have the sheets now, I threw them away when my hospital give me their excercises.

I think if you ring the helpline they will send you them and i think they have a dvd too


Yes they definately have a leaflet and DVD with advice and exercises following surgery. I ordered it and it came really quickly, the DVD is good because you can follow easily


Hi Alison

Here’s the link to the BCC exercise DVD and leaflet as oldandlumpy has mentioned:*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/159/

Best wishes


Thanks very much for that. I’ve ordered the DVD and downloaded the exercises…I have a bit more of an incentive to do these as opposed to using the gym membership that I"ve had for a year and used twice.

Thanks everyone