Preparing for womb cancer surgery

You have tests before your operation to check:

  • your fitness for a general anaesthetic
  • that you'll make a good recovery from surgery

Tests might include:

  • blood tests to check your general health and how well your kidneys and liver are working
  • an ECG to check that your heart is healthy
  • breathing tests (called lung function tests)
  • an echocardiogram (a painless test of your heart using sound waves)
  • a chest x-ray to check that your lungs are healthy

Pre assessment clinic

About 1 or 2 weeks before your surgery you usually have an appointment at the hospital pre assessment clinic.

Your pre assessment appointment prepares you for your operation.

You see a nurse at this appointment. You might also meet other members of your treatment team so you can sign the consent form to agree to the operation.

Ask lots of questions. It helps to write down your questions beforehand to help you remember what you want to ask. Remember to take them with you. The more you know about what is going to happen, the less frightening it will seem.

You can ask more questions when you go into hospital so don’t worry if you forget to ask some.

The pre assessment nurse checks your:

  • general health
  • weight
  • blood pressure
  • pulse
  • temperature

They also check what help and support you have at home to find out what you will need when you go home after your operation.

You might also see your:

  • specialist nurse
  • surgeon
  • anaesthetist

Learning breathing and leg exercises

Breathing exercises help to stop you from getting a chest infection. If you smoke, it helps if you can stop at least a few weeks before your operation.

Leg exercises help to stop blood clots forming in your legs. You might also have medicines to stop the blood from clotting. You have them as small injections under the skin.

You start the injections before your operation. You might also wear compression stockings and pumps on your calves or feet to help the circulation.

Your nurse and physiotherapist will get you up out of bed quite quickly after your surgery. This is to help prevent chest infections and blood clots forming.

This 3-minute video shows you how to do the breathing and leg exercises.

The evening before surgery

Your doctor or nurse may give you a carbohydrate rich drink to have the evening before or the morning of your operation. This gives you energy and can speed up your recovery. They will tell you what time you need to stop eating and drinking before your surgery.

Going into hospital

You will probably go into hospital on the morning of your operation. Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before your operation. 

The length of your hospital stay depends on what operation you have.

What to take with you

Take in:

  • nightgowns or pyjamas
  • underwear
  • dressing gown
  • slippers
  • contact lenses, solution, glasses and a case
  • wash bag with soap, a flannel or sponge, toothbrush and toothpaste
  • sanitary wear or tampons
  • razor
  • towel
  • small amount of money
  • medicines you normally take
  • magazines, books, playing cards
  • headphones and music to listen to
  • a tablet or smartphone for web browsing, entertainment and phone calls

Family and friends

Before you go into hospital, it might be worth checking:

  • whether the ward is allowing visitors
  • if they have set visiting times
  • the best number for friends and family to phone, to find out how you are

The letter you receive before your operation may contain this information. But if not, you can phone the ward or hospital reception to find out.

You can use your mobile phone in hospital. But there may be some time before and after your operation when you won’t have your mobile nearby. And you may not feel like talking.

Before you go into hospital

It’s worth sorting out a few things before you go into hospital. These might include:

  • work
  • care for children or other loved ones
  • care for your pets
  • care for your house
  • cancelling your milk or newspapers
Last reviewed: 
30 Jan 2020
Next review due: 
10 Feb 2023
  • The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures, 10th edition
    S Lister, J Hofland and H Grafton (Editors)
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2020