Helping you through breast cancer treatment

Surgery prep and planning tick off checklist (printable)

Surgery prep and planning tick off checklist (printable)


• Toiletries for your wash bag
• Things to do at hospital, for example; magazines, book, puzzle books and an ipad or similar
• For node clearance and mastectomies: one or two drain bags depending on whether you are having surgery on one or two sides (Although you may have something at home which will do the job just as well as a special drain bag. Check out Drain Dollies.)
• For mastectomies: a mastectomy pillow (search online, for example Jen’s Friends)


• Small, soft, squidgy cushion or pillow that you can put under your arm after node clearance surgery. Jen’s Friends provide small, handmade heart shaped pillows which are perfect for using after surgery – they just charge for P&P – a wonderful organisation. You may find that a “cheese wedge” pillow or a body shaped pillow might so it is worth taking some time to research your options.
• Flannels or sponges
• Comfy clothes for convalescing at home – this can be tricky, have a look around online but do check out  Live Better With and also IngaWell which is a really lovely website selling post surgery clothing. The lovely people at IngaWell are giving a discount to Ticking Off Breast Cancer followers – all you have to do is used the code “tickingoffbreastcancer” at the checkout to receive 15% off your purchases. How lovely is that?!
• Extra pillows to help night time sleeping


• Plan how you will sleep at night when you get home from hospital
• Contact numbers for who to call about any questions to do with the recovery and drain
• Plan and freeze some meals (make sure you do a grocery shop just before the surgery so you don’t need to go food shopping for a while afterwards)
• Plan childcare
• Clothing to accommodate the tubes and drain coming out of your armpit and that you can put on without really moving your arm and check with your hospital about whether they will be providing you with compression socks for once you are out of surgery. If not, then it is worth getting a pair to wear for a couple of weeks after surgery whilst you are convalescing.
• Someone to take you and bring you home from hospital (you won’t be able to drive – remember to ask your breast consultant when you are likely to be driving again and in the meantime you may need to organise help with getting yourself and your children around: to and from school, to medical appointments and so on)


In your bag for the hospital stay, you may wish to include items such as:

1. Wash bag of toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, regular facial toiletries or face wipes, soap)
2. Clean undies
3. Nightwear – ideally top and bottoms with the top easy to open from the front
4. Dressing gown and slippers because you will probably have to walk to the operating theatre
5. Something to do like a book, magazine, downloaded film on an iPad/phone
6. Phone and charger
7. Snacks – think about how long you are going to be in hospital
8. Drinks such as juice boxes, bottles of water, herbal tea bags, cordial
9. Note pad and pen for jotting down instructions and information from the nurses
10. Towel
11. Post mastectomy bra – there are various options available and you may have a recommendation from your consultant. Check out Reco Bras and Live Better With for some options
12. A small cushion that you can wear in the car on the way home between the seatbelt and your chest
13. Something easy to wear when you leave hospital – ideally something that buttons or zips up at the front, a skirt or jogging bottom/baggies and flat easy to slip on shoes or boots
14. The small pillows for under your arms (for example, the Jen’s Friends cushions)
15. Bags for the drains (such as Drain Dollies)
16. Details of your prescription medication to give to the nurses


Useful resources:

Huffington Post article about what to pack for a mastectomy


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