If you’ve had a Mastectomy, which is a
(removal of a Breast or both Breasts ) due to Breast Cancer, you could be experiencing a mild to significant amount of pain and tension in your chest from the scarring. Women often describe the feeling like a vice tightening around their chest. This doesn’t have to be the new normal for you.
Scar tissue forms during your body’s healing process after an injury (in this case surgery) to the body. It can form after biopsies, surgeries like mastectomies, and also due to radiotherapy related to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The time scars take to heal and the development of scar tissues is different for everyone, however all women can take care of the scar tissue in similar ways.
Two ways to help your scar tissue that I want to show are massage and a movement-stretching technique.
First for the massage.
Massaging the scar tissue can help the body to get rid of built-up collagen from the area, which can actually leave the scar flatter on the skin. Massaging can also help to keep it supple, flexible, and is an excellent way to keep the scar moist and speed up the healing process.
Scars are also extremely itchy. Massage can help with this itching sensation without irritating the area.
So, how soon after surgery can you start?
Only begin massaging your scar once it is sufficiently healed, approximately after two weeks. Never massage your scar if you still have stitches or if there is still a scab. If the edges are pinkish, with no “gaps” or scabbing, then you are ready to begin your scar massages. Speak to your doctor before starting.
Take the tips of two or more fingers and gently apply pressure to the scar and surrounding area while moving your fingers in one of three directions:
- Either back and forth along the length of the scar.
- Or from one side of the scar to the other (slowly moving along the length so that the entire scar and surrounding tissue has been massaged)
- Or in small circles (clockwise and counterclockwise) while moving along the length of the scar. The circumference of the circles should encompass the skin on either side of the scar.
One thing that can really benefit this scar tissue massage is using moisturizing butter when massaging. Make sure it is chemical-free and water-free.
You don’t have to do this, but the extra lubrication can moisten the scar and help to keep it flexible. Scabs are essential to the healing process but excessive scabbing can slow that process down. Keeping wounds moist and flexible actually minimizes scabbing!
If you do choose to use a moisturizing butter, it is super important to make sure they are safe, water-free, and chemical-free.
So, how often should you massage your scar?
It’s a good thing to keep this daily scar massage going for about 6 months after your surgery. You can still benefit from massaging after this point, but the majority of the healing process has already occurred.
You can do the massage no more than two or three times a day. Be careful not to irritate your scar through excessive massaging.
The second way to take care of your breast is the stretching-movement technique.
You can ask questions below and feel free to join me as we explore the intricacies of Breast Cancer and help YOU return to your most optimal health following surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.