Prior to breast surgery, what do you say to the patient to give them reassurance?

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DrAttai (Physician - Surgery - Breast (Verified) ) - 07 / 26 / 2011

There are many things to consider prior to surgery for breast cancer, but I think that one of the most important is to provide emotional support for the patient and her family during this very difficult time. While we often have a good idea of what we are dealing with based on the mammogram, ultrasound, MRI and other tests, there is always some uncertainty until the final pathology results are available. Trying to prepare a woman and her family for the possible scenarios that we may encounter based on the surgical findings and pathology results while also trying to be reassuring that she will be "ok" is sometimes a tough balancing act.

I do feel that having information is very helpful, and reviewing the step-by-step process of what will happen in the hospital on the day of the surgery seems to be very helpful. I also review what to expect after surgery as well, in terms of discomfort, resuming normal activity, and returning to work. Sometimes having a patient speak to other women who have undergone a similar procedure can provide some support.

While most women do go into the surgery fairly anxious, at least if they understand what will happen before, during, and after, some of the mystery is taken out of the whole process.
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