How should I prepare for risk-reducing breast surgery?

Before you have surgery, you’ll probably see a number of healthcare professionals. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team and will include:

  • A clinical geneticist/genetics counsellor – They will be able to tell you about your risk of breast cancer and by how much this risk is likely to be reduced if you decide to have surgery.
  • A consultant breast surgeon – They will discuss the surgery and what it involves with you. Most breast surgeons who carry out risk-reducing breast surgery will see you in a breast clinic at least twice before you have to make a decision about whether or not you want to have it. They will answer your questions and discuss any anxieties.
  • A clinical nurse specialist – They will give you information and support during your treatment.
  • A psychologist – Your consultant may also refer you to see a psychologist. The psychologist will help you think and talk through your feelings and expectations. They will be able to help you prepare for the surgery and for what to expect afterwards. Some women may worry about being referred to a psychologist but it’s often a normal part of preparing for risk-reducing breast surgery.
  • A plastic surgeon – If you decide to have immediate reconstructive surgery, you may also see a plastic surgeon. They will work alongside your breast surgeon during your operation. Some breast or oncoplastic surgeons are trained in both breast surgery and reconstructive surgery.

Back to Risk-reducing breast surgery

Options for women with a high risk of developing breast cancer

There are several options for women with a high risk of developing breast cancer.

What is risk-reducing breast surgery?

If you have a high risk of developing breast cancer, surgery to remove one or both breasts may lower your risk.

Making your decision about risk-reducing breast surgery

Give yourself plenty of time to think about the benefits and disadvantages of risk-reducing breast surgery, before you make a decision.

Having risk-reducing breast surgery

You and your breast surgeon will decide which type of risk-reducing breast surgery is suitable for you.

What happens after surgery?

Recovery can take some time after risk-reducing breast surgery. It will depend on the type of surgery you have had.

Possible problems after surgery

It’s a good idea to know the signs of common problems so you can be treated earlier.

Life after risk-reducing breast surgery

Risk-reducing breast surgery is a big step to take and it can cause many different emotions and feelings.