The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is recommending sweeping
changes in its breast
cancer screening guidelines.
The USPSTF, which is a group of independent health experts convened by the
Department of Health and Human Services, reviewed and commissioned research to
develop computer-simulated models comparing the expected outcomes under
different screening scenarios.
Here are the USPSTF's recommendations, based on all that work:
Routine screening of average-risk women should...
Infection, including redness and/or swelling of the incision with pus or foul-smelling drainage, perhaps with fever. Antibiotics can be used to treat post-surgical infections.
Lymphedema, swelling of the arm and/or hand on the side of the surgery due to the removal of the lymph nodes under the arm. Lymphedema often goes away on its own, but sometimes requires treatment. Treatment is usually provided by physical or occupational therapists and includes:
Manually draining the fluid.
Caring for the skin.
Exercising the arm.
Wearing compression bandages to keep the swelling from recurring.
Seroma, the accumulation of fluid in the location of the surgery. Most of the time the fluid is absorbed by the body. However, the area may be drained, using a needle, if it does not go away on its own.
Other complications may include stiffness of the shoulder and possible numbness or altered sensation in the upper arm or armpit.
Before breast cancer surgery, your surgeon should provide you with information about recovery and follow-up care. Make sure you get all your questions answered before surgery.
Print out these Questions to Ask to take to your appointment so you can better understand your care.