As part of cancer treatment, you may have to have surgery. It may be confusing to know how to prepare for cancer surgery, especially when surgeries can vary in size and length. For many, simply having to go to the hospital can also be stressful and anxiety-inducing.
Looking after your mental health is incredibly important when going through cancer, and one way to help combat that stress and anxiety is to be prepared for what’s to come. We asked our community to share their advice on how to prepare for cancer surgery and what to pack if you’re going into hospital.
How to prepare for cancer surgery:
- Read and reread any letters from your doctor or hospital. prior to your surgery date, make sure you’re as informed as possible These letters will often contain a lot of useful information about the procedure itself as well as practical information, such as what time to arrive.
- Get ready to wait. Although you will be given a time for your appointment, it is not unusual for there to be delays once you’ve arrived. Make sure you have things with you to keep entertained and try not to worry if your surgery gets pushed to later than expected.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there’s something you’re not sure about, talk to your doctor or nurse. They should be able to help you find the answer and put your mind at ease.
- Be organised. Depending on the type of surgery you’re having, you may have some recovery time ahead of you after the operation. Make sure you’re prepared for this by knowing how long you can expect to be recovering and by having your loved ones on hand to bring you to and from the hospital.
What to pack for cancer surgery:
- Any letters or information from your doctor and/or hospital.
- Toiletries like your toothbrush and hairbrush so you can freshen up when you feel ready to.
- Comfy clothes, a dressing gown/robe, warm socks and slippers.
- Things to keep you entertained like a book, music and podcasts to listen to, or shows and movies downloaded that you can watch.
- Lip balm and other moisturizers if you feel you have dry skin
- Water bottle to fill up and have beside you for recovery.
You may also find it helpful to think about how to cope with the side effects of cancer treatment. Being prepared is great, but making sure you continue to look after yourself after treatment is also vital for maintaining your wellbeing when going through cancer.