For Patients

Information and Resources

Western New York Breast Health is dedicated to providing information and resources to support patients. We believe education empowers patients to take an active role in their health.

What you don’t find on the website we have in the office or will obtain upon request.

New Patient Documents

In this section, a number of important documents have been uploaded for patients who are new to Western New York Breast Health. They can be downloaded, completed, sent into the office via mail or fax prior to the patient's first appointment. Please note: it is very important that all documents are read and completed. Thank You!

Fax: 716-632-7464

Instructions Before Surgery

The following are all important points to read, consider, and follow before undergoing surgery:

  • If you have certain medical conditions, you may need to see your medical doctor for a surgical clearance. This appointment will be made for you.
  • Any pre-surgical testing that is needed must be done at least one week before your surgery.
  • If you need any additional testing before surgery due to any abnormalities noted on the standard pre-surgical testing or due to your medical clearance with your physician, this needs to be done as soon as possible and may affect your date of surgery.
  • If any of your pre-surgical testing is not completed at appropriate times before surgery, your surgery may need to be rescheduled.
  • DO NOT TAKE ANY: Aspirin, Ibuprofen products (Motrin, Advil), Alleve or other blood thinning products such as coumadin, plavix, pletal, celebrex or vitamin E-- for at least 5 days prior to surgery.
  • Take all other medicines as usual on the day of surgery with only a SIP of water.
  • DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT THE NIGHT BEFORE SURGERY (INCLUDING HARD CANDY AND GUM).
  • If you need a needle localization or a sentinel node injection, these will be scheduled for you while scheduling your surgery. These procedures are done at the WNY Breast Health office on Sheridan Drive. The times for these procedures will be given to you and will be on your surgery instructions. It is important for you to be on time to these appointments as the procedures do take some time. Any delay will affect the surgery schedule at the hospital.
  • You will be given a prescription for pain medicine prior to your surgery. It is dated for the day of the surgery and cannot be filled until then. You will not be given any prescriptions at the hospital on the day of surgery.
  • You will need an appointment for a post-operative follow-up. This will be scheduled for you at the time of booking your surgery. It will be made for 7-10 days after your surgery. If this appointment has not already been scheduled, please call our office at 632-7465. It is important that you have the surgery site checked post-operatively.
  • Pathology reports will NOT be available until the post-operative appointment. NO results or information regarding the pathology will be given on the day of surgery except for sentinel lymph node biopsies. NO results are given over the phone.
Patient Information Following a Lumpectomy or Mastectomy

This article contains information to inform patients recovering from surgery about precautions that should be followed to speed along the recovery process. Additionally, a list of exercises can be found on this website that can be completed on a daily basis to assist in rehabilitation. As with all surgery, there will still be a period of time in which normal daily activities will be too physically demanding. However, with proper rest and small changes in daily routine, this down time can be reduced and a normal schedule resumed shortly thereafter.

Immediately following surgery, it is normal to feel some pain, soreness, or tightness and swelling in the surgical area and upper extremities. These symptoms may limit the ability to lift and move the affected arm, and may last up to several weeks following the operation. Fortunately, following the exercises included on this website and getting plenty of rest can help to alleviate these post-surgical symptoms more quickly, and return mobility to the stiff arm. Following surgery, patients are able to move their arm near the site of their lumpectomy. The key to maintaining the health and accelerating the recovery of this arm is to use the limb within one's comfort level (i.e. avoiding painful or excessively stressful activities), especially while the surgical drain remains in place. If a certain activity may seem too stressful, it is a good idea to consult with Dr. Lindfield or another physician involved in your breast disease treatment.

The following list emphasizes some key points to keep in mind while recovering from surgery:

  • Beginning exercises as quickly as possible following surgery will increase circulation to the surgical area, promoting healing and decreasing swelling
  • Initially, feeling tight and sore in the surgical area is normal, and these feelings will decrease over time as the affected area is regularly exercised. If these feelings extend to the inside of the affected arm, contact our office to speak with Dr. Lindfield.
  • You may experience some numbness in the back of the affected arm
  • While exercising for recovery, complete the exercises slowly, and do not overexert such that any tightness or soreness turns into pain
  • If swelling persists in the surgical area, contact our office
  • Limit lifting anything heavy to less than ten pounds to avoid overexerting the surgical area
  • Keep the surgical area clean to avoid infection or trauma
Patient Information Following a Partial Mastectomy (Lumpectomy)

Driving: No driving for at least 1 week. Do NOT drive if you are taking pain medication other than Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Do NOT drive if drains are in place.

Physical Activity: Resume your normal activities when you feel comfortable. Avoid strenuous activity (weight lifting, sports, etc.) on your surgical side for at least 1 week. NO lifting any weight greater than 10 pounds for at least one week after surgery.

Bandages/Wound Care: There will be several strips (steri-strips) on the skin covering the incision site. Leave these strips in place until your post-op appointment. They may fall off on their own in about 7 days. If they do, this is okay. You may remove the outer bandage at 48 hours. You may shower 48 hours after surgery unless you have a drain in place (see below). After showering, pat dry the incision area with a towel. At this time, you no longer need a bandage covering the strips and the incision (though many people feel more comfortable with a dressing for the first few days). The drain site should continue to be covered. Most people are more comfortable if they wear a bra regularly for the first few days. You may wear a post-surgical bra or whatever bra is most comfortable.

Drains: If you have a drain or catheter for radiation in place, you CANNOT shower. These must be kept dry. If there is any drainage on the bandages around the drain or the catheter (which is to be expected) these bandages need to be changed. If you have a radiation catheter, expect drainage. These bandages may need to be changed quite frequently for the first few days. If you have a drain in place, it will be removed in the office at your post-op appointment or when the drainage is less than 30cc per day. Instructions for drain care will be given to you at the hospital before you are discharged.

Pain Medications: You will be given a prescription for pain medication at your visit prior to surgery. You may use as needed for pain. You may take 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. These are narcotics and may cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, sedation and constipation. These are normal side-effects. DO NOT drive if you are taking narcotics. You will NOT be given a prescription for pain medication on the day of surgery. Prescriptions will NOT be called in to your pharmacy.

Ibuprofen: 200-600 mg every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. These can be taken 24 hours post surgery.

Tylenol: You may take Tylenol as needed for pain. If needed, take 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours. DO NOT take Tylenol if you are taking your prescription pain medication as these also have Tylenol in them and may cause an overdose.

Diet: No restrictions

Your regular medications: You may resume these the day of surgery as scheduled. Coumadin, Plavix, Aspirin and other blood thinning medications (including vitamin E, fish oils, celebrex and other arthritis medications) should not be restarted until at least 48 hours post surgery or until instructed.

Special Instructions: Some bruising may occur. This will go away after a few days. There will be swelling in the area that accumulates over the few days following surgery. This is normal. It will go away over a few weeks. If you develop a fever over 101, chills, redness at the incision site, excessive swelling or drainage from your wound, or severe pain not relieved by your pain medication, please call the office at 716-632-7465.

Follow-up appointment: 7-10 days after surgery in the office. This appointment will be made for you at the time of booking your surgery.

Return to work: Depending on your job, about 1-2 weeks.

Please call the office at 716-632-7465 if you have additional questions or problems.

Patient Information Following a Sentinel Node Biopsy

Sentinel Node Injections: You will have an injection on the day of the surgery or the evening before depending on the time of your surgery. This injection is a radioactive dye used to identify the location of the sentinel node. There may be some discomfort at the time of the injection as with any injection. This material is degraded by your body quickly and will last for about a day after surgery. You are not "radioactive". You may be around pregnant women or young children. You may travel. You will also receive a colored dye injection at the start of the surgery to also aid in the detection of the sentinel node. This will be done once you are asleep. You will not feel this injection. This may make your urine a blue or green color for about a day or two after surgery, which is normal.

Incisions: You will most likely have two separate incisions. After a sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure, you may use your arm normally. There may be some swelling under your arm. This is NORMAL. Keep your arm elevated when not in use for comfort.

Patient Information Following a Total Mastectomy

Driving: No driving for at least 1 week. Do NOT drive if you are taking pain medication other than Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Do NOT drive if drains are in place.

Physical Activity: Resume your normal activities when you feel comfortable. Avoid strenuous activity (weight lifting, sports, etc.) on your surgical side for at least 1 week. NO lifting any weight greater than 10 pounds for at least one week after surgery.

Bandages/Wound Care: There will be several strips (steri-strips) on the skin covering the incision site. Leave these strips in place until your post-op appointment. They may fall off on their own in about 7 days. If they do, this is okay. You may remove the outer bandage at 48 hours. You may shower 48 hours after surgery unless you have a drain in place (see below). After showering, pat dry the incision area with a towel. At this time, you no longer need a bandage covering the strips and the incision (though many people feel more comfortable with a dressing for the first few days). The drain site should continue to be covered. Most people are more comfortable if they wear a bra regularly for the first few days. You may wear a post-surgical bra or whatever bra is most comfortable.

Drains: If you have a drain in place you CANNOT shower. The drain must be kept dry. IF you have a drain in place, it will be removed in the office at your post-op appointment or when the drainage is less than 30cc per day. Instructions for drain care will be given to you at the hospital before you are discharged.

Pain Medications: You will be given a prescription for pain medication at your visit prior to surgery. You may use as needed for pain. You may take 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. These are narcotics and may cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, sedation and constipation. These are normal side-effects. DO NOT drive if you are taking narcotics. You will NOT be given a prescription for pain medication on the day of surgery. Prescriptions will NOT be called in to your pharmacy.

Ibuprofen: 200-600 mg every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. These can be taken 24 hours post surgery.

Tylenol: You may take Tylenol as needed for pain. If needed, take 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours. DO NOT take Tylenol if you are taking your prescription pain medication as these also have Tylenol in them and may cause an overdose.

Diet: No restrictions

Your regular medications: You may resume these the day of surgery as scheduled.

Special Instructions: Some bruising may occur. This will go away after a few days. There will be swelling in the area that accumulates over the few days following surgery. This is normal. It will go away over a few weeks. If you develop a fever over 101, chills, redness at the incision site, excessive swelling or drainage from your wound, or severe pain not relieved by your pain medication, please call the office at 716-632-7465.

Follow-up appointment: 7-10 days after surgery in the office. This appointment will be made for you at the time of booking your surgery.

Return to work: Depending on your job, about 1-2 weeks.

Please call the office at 716-632-7465 if you have additional questions or problems.

Patient Information Following a Radiation Balloon Catheter Placement

Bandages/Wound Care: DO NOT shower while the catheter is in place. It is okay to sponge bath during this time. The catheter should be kept dry. There will be some drainage of fluid (bloody, red, pink, yellow, or orange) from around the catheter. This will decrease over time and is EXPECTED. DRAINAGE IS NORMAL. If the bandages become soaked, you may change them as needed in order to keep the skin dry. You may use regular gauze pads over the area. Please keep the catheter covered at all times.

Pain Medications: You will be given a prescription for pain medication at your visit prior to surgery. You may use as needed for pain. You may take 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. These are narcotics and may cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, sedation and constipation. These are normal side-effects. DO NOT drive if you are taking narcotics. You will NOT be given a prescription for pain medication on the day of surgery. Prescriptions will NOT be called in to your pharmacy.

Ibuprofen: 200-600 mg every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. These can be taken 24 hours post surgery.

Tylenol: You may take Tylenol as needed for pain. If needed, take 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours. DO NOT take Tylenol if you are taking your prescription pain medication as these also have Tylenol in them and may cause an overdose.

Diet: No restrictions

Your Regular Medications: You may resume these the day of surgery as scheduled. Coumadin, Plavix, Aspirin and other blood thinning medication (including vitamin E, fish oils, celebrex and other arthritis medications) should not be restarted for at least 48 hours or until instructed.

Special Instructions: Some bruising may occur. This will go away over a few weeks. There will be swelling in the area that accumulates over a few days following surgery. This is normal. It will go away over a few weeks. If you develop a fever over 101, chills, redness at the incision site, excessive swelling or drainage from your wound, or severe pain that is not relieved by your pain medication, please call the office at 632-7465.

Follow-up Appointment: 7-10 days following surgery in the office. This appointment will be made for you at the time of booking your surgery.

Return to work: Depending on your job, about 1-2 weeks. Any forms or notes needed for time off work or return to work need to be handed in to the office as soon as possible, preferably before the surgery. Please refer to the Form Policy in the new patient packet you received.

Please call the office at 716-632-7465 if you have additional questions or problems.

Information Following a Lumpectomy and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy

Driving: No driving for at least 1 week. Do NOT drive if you are taking pain medication other than Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Do NOT drive if drains are in place.

Physical Activity: Resume your normal activities when you feel comfortable. Avoid strenuous activity (weight lifting, sports, etc.) on your surgical side for at least 1 week. NO lifting any weight greater than 10 pounds for at least one week after surgery.

Incisions: You will most likely have two separate incisions. After a sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure, you may use your arm normally. There may be some swelling under your arm. This is NORMAL. Keep your arm elevated when not in use for comfort.

Sentinel Node Injections: You will have an injection on the day of the surgery or the evening before depending on the time of your surgery. This injection is a radioactive dye used to identify the location of the sentinel node. There may be some discomfort at the time of the injection as with any injection. This material is degraded by your body quickly and will last for about a day after surgery. You are not "radioactive." You may be around pregnant women and young children. You may travel. You will also receive a colored dye injection at the start of the surgery to also aid in the detection of the sentinel node. This will be done once you are asleep. You will not feel this injection. This may make your urine a blue or green color for about a day or two after surgery. This is normal.

Bandages/Wound Care: There will be several strips (steri-strips) on the skin covering the incision site. Leave these strips in place until your post-op appointment. They may fall off on their own in about 7 days. If they do, this is okay. You may remove the outer bandage at 48 hours. You may shower 48 hours after surgery unless you have a drain in place (see below). After showering, pat dry the incision area with a towel. At this time, you no longer need a bandage covering the strips and the incision (though many people feel more comfortable with a dressing for the first few days). The drain site should continue to be covered. Most people are more comfortable if they wear a bra regularly for the first few days. You may wear a post-surgical bra or whatever bra is most comfortable.

Drains: If you have a drain or catheter for radiation in place, you CANNOT shower. These must be kept dry at all times. If there is any drainage on the bandages around the drain or the catheter (which is to be expected) these bandages need to be changed. These bandages may need to be changed quite frequently for the first few days after surgery. Please refer to the separate set of instructions for radiation catheters. If you have a drain in place, it will be removed in the office at your post-op appointment or when the drainage is less than 30cc per day. Instructions for drain care will be given to you at the hospital before you are discharged.

Pain Medications: You will be given a prescription for pain medication at your visit prior to surgery. You may use as needed for pain. You may take 1-2 tablets every 4 hours as needed. These are narcotics and may cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, sedation and constipation. These are normal side-effects. DO NOT drive if you are taking narcotics. You will NOT be given a prescription for pain medication on the day of surgery. Prescriptions will NOT be called in to your pharmacy.

Ibuprofen: 200-600 mg every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. These can be taken 24 hours post surgery.

Tylenol: You may take Tylenol as needed for pain. If needed, take 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours. DO NOT take Tylenol if you are taking your prescription pain medication as these also have Tylenol in them and may cause an overdose.

Diet: No restrictions

Your regular medications: You may resume these the day of surgery as scheduled. Coumadin, Plavix, Aspirin and other blood thinning medications (including vitamin E, fish oils, celebrex and other arthritis medications) should not be restarted until at least 48 hours post surgery or until instructed.

Special Instructions: Some bruising may occur. This will go away after a few days. There will be swelling in the area that accumulates over the few days following surgery. This is normal. It will go away over a few weeks. If you develop a fever over 101, chills, redness at the incision site, excessive swelling or drainage from your wound, or severe pain not relieved by your pain medication, please call the office at 716-632-7465.

Lymph Node Precautions: If you have had a sentinel node biopsy, you may use that arm NORMALLY immediately after surgery. There may be some swelling under the arm after surgery. This is NORMAL. Stretching exercises may be done after surgery to help with any discomfort in the area and will decrease swelling. Keep the arm elevated as much as possible for the first few days after surgery to also help with any swelling.

Follow-up appointment: 7-10 days after surgery in the office. This appointment will be made for you at the time of booking your surgery.

Return to work: Depending on your job, about 1-2 weeks.

Please call the office at 716-632-7465 if you have additional questions or problems.

Post-Operative Exercises

The following exercises are all good ways to increase the health and mobility of the surgical area and affected arm following any procedure. Remember, complete each exercise slowly, and do not overexert while exercising such that the surgical area becomes painful.

Shoulder Shrugs:

-Stand or sit upright
-Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears
-Hold for three seconds, and relax your shoulders
-Complete this exercise three times a day, with 5 repetitions each time. Eventually, begin working towards completing 10 repetitions with each exercise

Rhomboids:

-Stand upright, clasping your hands at the small of your back
-Pinch your shoulder blades together
-Hold for three seconds, then relax
-Complete this exercise three times a day, with 5 repetitions each time. Eventually, begin working towards completing 10 repetitions with each exercise

Shoulder Abduction/Adduction:

-Sitting upright, grasp a cane or straight stick with both hands
-Keeping your elbows straight, bring your arms out to your and up towards your shoulder
-Hold for three seconds, and repeat for the other side
-Complete this exercise three times a day, with 5 repetitions each time. Eventually, begin working towards completing 10 repetitions with each exercise

Horizontal Abduction/Adduction:

-Sitting upright, grasp a cane or straight stick with both hands
-Place your arms straight in front of you
-Keeping your arms straight, push the cane to one side of your body and then to the other
-Hold the exercise at each side for three seconds and repeat to the other side
-Complete this exercise three times a day, with 5 repetitions each time. Eventually, begin working towards completing 10 repetitions with each exercise

Active Assistive Shoulder Flexion:

-Sitting upright, hold a cane or straight stick in both hands or clasp your hands together
-Stretch your hands over your head while keeping your elbows straight
-Hold for three seconds and then return to the starting position
-Complete this exercise three times a day, with 5 repetitions each time. Eventually, begin working towards completing 10 repetitions with each exercise

Internal/External Rotation:

-Lie on your back
-With your arm out at shoulder level bend your elbow 90 degrees
-Rotate your arm down to touch the palm of your hand to the floor or bed
-Rotate your arm back up so that the back of your hand is now touching the floor or bed
-Return to the starting position
-Hold for three seconds at each side and repeat
-Complete this exercise three times a day, with 5 repetitions each time. Eventually, begin working towards completing 10 repetitions with each exercise

Doorway Pectorals Stretch:

-Standing in a doorway, place your affected forearm on the door jam with your shoulder and elbow at 90 degree angles
-While standing in the doorway, turn your head away from your affected arm and hold for three seconds, then relax
-Complete this exercise three times a day, with 5 repetitions each time. Eventually, begin working towards completing 10 repetitions with each exercise

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I conduct a breast self exam?

The agreed upon self examination schedule is once a month after a woman enters her 20’s. It is a good idea to conduct this test at the same time in each month, so that the menstrual cycle is in approximately the same stage as well. Any change in breast firmness or and found lump should be reported to a breast health specialist immediately in order to determine the cause of these changes.

Are Mammograms painful?

Although mammograms are a non-invasive procedure, the breasts must be compressed between two plates in order to obtain an image of the tissue, and this compression may cause discomfort. To fix this problem, patients should try to schedule mammograms one week after their period so that their breasts are not as tender and sensitive.

Can benign cysts become cancerous?

The likelihood of a benign cyst becoming cancerous is incredibly low. However, if a patient finds a lump they should certainly not assume it to be benign. The only way to confirm the indentity of a lump is through diagnostic tests such as mammograms or ultrasounds, or a biopsy if those tests prove inconclusive.

Does menstrual and reproductive activity affect breast cancer risks?

Menstrual and reproductive activity can increase the risk of breast cancer, but only in women who either began menstruating before age 12, had their first child after age 30, or entered menopause after age 55. These circumstances cause the body to be exposed to increased levels of estrogen compared to other women, which can lead to breast cancer.

How often should I see my doctor for a check up?

Generally, once a woman reaches 40 she should undergo a yearly screening mammogram, although the frequency of mammograms or the ordering of supplemental MRIs may be necessary if a patient is deemed to be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

How does stress affect breast cancer?

Although there is no known link between stress levels and the risk of developing breast cancer, it has been proven that reducing stress through meditation or massage can strengthen the immune system, which helps in preventing and fighting breast cancer.

Can exercise reduce the risk of breast cancer?

Studies have shown that exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer by reducing the amount of fatty tissue within in the body, which is known to produce estrogen.

Where can I find a support group in my area?

WNY Breast Health is proud to support PINK, a support group dedicated to helping women that are facing breast cancer treatment or have survived cancer and are looking to move on with their lives. Additionally, if you would like further information about support groups closer to your home, contact the American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen foundations for more information.

Are You at Risk Survey

Many patients wonder whether or not they are classified as having an increased risk of developing breast cancer. If you are one such patient, then download the Are You At Risk survey by clicking on the link below and answer the questions inside to find out.