The good news for breast cancer patients is that techniques for surgeries concerning this malignant tumor have improved over the years and there are excellent chances of a successful treatment. At the same time, you need to remember the basic risks that are associated with the procedures. It must be understood that surgeries for any disease have their own risks and patients should have a basic knowledge of these before opting for the treatment.
Here are some risks and complications linked to breast cancer surgery along with possible ways to address them effectively:
- There can be some minor wound infections after the surgery but these subside with antibiotics.
- Although a rare condition, wound healing delays can involve hematoma - the buildup of blood in the wound, and seroma - the accumulation of a transparent fluid in the wound. At times hematoma and seroma problems get resolved without any medical aid. But if this does not happen, your doctor will prescribe a treatment with surgical drains. Both the issues respond to this treatment for a favorable outcome.
- Excessive bleeding is another rare complication but it can happen in some patients during or after the surgery. If you need to go for double mastectomy or breast reconstruction, it is good to donate some blood before the surgery. In case of excessive bleeding, you will get back your own blood.
- General anesthesia which is given for any surgery may cause complications to some sensitive individuals. You put yourself at risk of breathing and/or heart problems or some allergic reactions to anesthesia. In very rare cases (about one in 200,000) general anesthesia could cause death.
- At times, after breast cancer surgery it may be more difficult than before for lymph fluid to drain from the arm. This may cause a swelling known as lymphedema. This can also occur in breast, trunk or abdomen and may be accompanied by pain or numbness. But lymphedema subsides with time and your doctor will advise you of exercises and other precautions to get rid of the problem.
- Reconstructive surgeries have some risks as they can alter the appearance and size of treated breast. Talk to your surgeon about these before finalizing your choice of surgery.