Before surgery

Pre-operative outpatient clinic visit

The patient meets with the surgeon, breast-cancer nurse, and anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist at a pre-operative visit to the outpatient clinic.

At the initial visit, the surgeon does a breast exam and prepares a surgical plan that takes the patient’s wishes into account. During the visit the nurse provides both written and oral information about coming in for the operation.

After seeing the surgeon, the patient meets with a breast-cancer nurse. This is an opportunity to review sentinel node scanning and other surgery-related questions. Any follow-up treatments at the Department of Oncology are discussed, along with the impact of cancer on everyday life: family, work, hobbies, finances, etc. A family member or close friend is welcome to accompany the patient to the visit. A cancer diagnosis tends to cause confusion and anxiety that can make it more difficult than usual to absorb a lot of information.

At the time of the initial visit, patients receiving a surgery appointment meet with an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist to review critical points about general anesthesia. In addition to discussing anesthesia, the patient’s medical history is reviewed. Blood pressure is measured, relevant laboratory results are checked, and additional tests are ordered by the anesthesiologist as needed.