Safe to return to work as floor nurse after mastectomy and lymphedema

Posted by sabine66 @sabine66, Aug 5, 2020

Set to return to work after left mastectomy and axillary dissection, I am scared that returning to work as a nurse, scared of accidental injury to my left arm, needle stick, scratch from patient etc. Are my fears valid? Do I need to look for a another job? Can I still safely work as a nurse ? My anxiety is rising and at the same time working as a nurse has always been my passion, I love my job.I miss the patients , my coworkers! Cancer has taking so much already, and I worked so hard to make the dream of being a nurse come true.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Breast Cancer Support Group.

After recouping from mastectomy and also have lymphedema, you do have a serious decision to make. Perhaps you can talk with your manager to see what your options might be and possibly there may be a different nursing position that is out there that you can do now. Life throws us many "adventures" and it's up to us to figure out which one to take. Hoping you find something that fits.


Hi Sabine66, do you have lymphedema or are you saying you are concerned about getting it due to axillary node dissection? I am a recently retired PT with a certification in lymphedema therapy. I had a lumpectomy with axillary node dissection (12 nodes)27 years ago. I have been careful but have lived my life and have not developed lymphedema. I would encourage you to see a lymphedema therapist for an evaluation and discuss your fears with her. I might suggest you consider a low grade (15-20mm/hg arm sleeve to wear for work and air travel). I wish you good luck in making your decision.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.