ZocdocAnswersHow long will the pain last after breast cancer surgery?

Question

How long will the pain last after breast cancer surgery?

I had a lumpectomy done on my right breast and feel a lot of pain. I am 32 and have been given medication. How long will the pain last? Are there exercises that can help it go away sooner?

Answer

Post-surgical pain can be very frustrating for patients. In general it can be hard to predict exactly how long someone's pain and discomfort will last post-surgery, as each person is different and the exact nature of specific surgeries can affect the healing process. You should be having close follow-up with the surgeon who performed your lumpectomy and he or she should be able to give you a sense of how much tissue was removed during your lumpectomy. In addition, whether or not you underwent a lymph node dissection can also influence how much healing your body will need to do. Although the pain can be very frustrating in the beginning, it is important to remember that the healing process starts the minute the surgery is over, and so you should begin to feel better--little by little--every day. Managing post-op pain is also a very important part of the healing process. You should feel comfortable using the pain medications your physician has prescribed. If the medications are not working (or if they are making you feel too sedated) you should get in touch with the office because there are many different types of pain medication available. Also, as you mention, using your arm and trying to stay active can also be very helpful in managing pain. The more you use your body and get back to regular activity, the more you can help accelerate the healing process. While there are not specific exercises per se for lumpectomy pain, resuming gentle activity as cleared by your surgeon can help get you feeling back to your normal self.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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