Advice after Axillary node clearance

Hi, I had node clearance in November. My lymph nodes were involved before chemo but nothing could be seen on scans after chemo but they recommended chemo incase any microscopic cells remained that were not detected by scans and sure enough the pathology report came back showing 2 nodes still had cancer. They had to do it to be on the safe side - so glad I did … Having any lurking is not what you want! Arm a bit sore after but persevered with exercises and fine now and now I’m having radiotherapy. Speak to your BCN about your concerns. Don’t suffer in silence with your worries. The op really isn’t as bad as you imagine and the scar is in the arm pit but do voice your concerns - they will answer them for you to make a more informed decision right for you. Xx

Hi Corrina

I hope you are recovering well from the op and the exercises are getting easier for you. As the weeks go on it’ll get easier. Another good tip is when you are in the shower, gently massage your effected arm in upward strokes to encourage lymph drainage. …again, gently! Hope this helps. Also keep the arm well moisturised x

Hi All, it’s so confusing to read everyone’s experiences as the advice we are all given appears to be so different. I’m 45, had single mastectomy in December, they removed 2 nodes, both of which were infected, had total clearance 2 weeks ago, a further 2 were infected but remaining all clear…I never considered or was really given any options of anything but full clearance? Wound good, no swelling but I will break the hand of anyone who passes a feather within a mm of my upper arm…OUCH!!! Really tight, excercises are being done through gritted teeth and sleep is a distant memory…any ideas how long this goes on for?? Wanted to feel physically well before chemo starts but thinking that might be unlikely:-( appreciate any thoughts. Thanks Rachel x

Hi Corrina, Thank the Lord!!! I’m not a super human either… I’m now 6 weeks post op from mastectomy and 3 weeks post op from my clearance and I’m still very sore with limited movement, can’t drive and sleep a lot!!! I’ve been reassured by my nurse to chill out and not worry, everyone heals differently. I’ve got my next appointment on Monday when I shall get my chemo timetable…I knew I needed chemo quite early on because I had a couple of lumps and it was in 4 nodes, I’m prepared and looking at the positives of smooth legs for the summer :slight_smile: good luck and hope you don’t need chemo too x

I had lumpectomy and axillary node clearance two weeks ago today (drain still in).  I get the results of surgery tomorrow but scans only showed up one raised node.  My thoughts on it are Im glad that they removed all nodes.  I dont want any little rogue cells sitting dormant in any of my other nodes.  My body will learn to drain the fluid in that area some other way and I will continue to do my exercises and look after my arm to decrease the chance of lymphodema.


The drain is also being removed tomorrow - I have been told its sore - anyone verify this?

I’m going to have chemotherapy soon. Just had lumpectomy and axillary nodes clearance. Any suggestions as I’m too worried about the side effects.

Hi all. Great reading all of your comments and experiences. I had my lumpectomy and full node clearance yesterday. Wasn’t given any other options as sentinel node had 18mm cancerous tumour. Get results in 2 weeks about others to see if spread. This was after 8 rounds of chemo which I started in October. The node and tumours in breast had both shrunk at half way stage…but at final mri had both increased again. I guess they didn’t react as well to the 2nd lot of drugs. But nobody knows this at the time. So glad they’ve gone now.

Day 2 post surgery. Very sore and swollen. Trying to do the exercises. Nobody told me about this numbness!! Whole of armpit and down back of arm. Read that some of you say that this persists even months later? Wow. I guess I will get used to it. Just praying I don’t get lymphodema.

Hope all of you are staying strong and as positive as you can. Very difficult at these haRd times

Love and hugs


This thread is really very helpful. My mum had lymph nodes removed on Tuesday, but was sent home Weds morning. No nurse exam and the info on here has been reassuring as she has numbness.

Hi. I have had 1 node with tumour after lumpectomy and sentinel removal.
As single parent of four I am seriously considering not have the auxillary removal,
My main concern is not driving and being self employed… not working !! With the operation what is everyone’s own experience please with driving ?? I’m still due to have radiotherapy and tamoxifen once decision is made

I had axI’ll aryl node clearance 34 removed. I’m 10 month after surgery. Still get discomfort under the arm and numbNess persists Have to do the arm and shoulder exercises every day otjerwise it stiffenseems up and feels uncomfortable. Only had one lymph node that was cancerous butility was told I would have to have clearancertainly as this waseems NICE guidelinesite. Wish I had gone for a second opinion as feel like I would have been ok just having the seminal nodes removed… managed driving after a few weeks but it was my right arm might have been more difficult if it was my left for using handbrake. My arm is still a lother weaker so can’t carry heavy bags as frightened I will strain it and end up with lymphodema.xx

I had a full clearance under my right arm 14 August and it been 3 days now that my hand and arm have been very uncomfortable and swollen. I’ve tried ringing the Lymphoedema clinic 3times this afternoon but no one has rung me back. I’m worried that it’s going to get worse by Monday 

Hi Pauline,
I had the same op as you on 17th Jan, after 6 rounds of bro adjuvant chemotherapy (tchp). I got my histo results yesterday. One node still positive, three had resolved, rest clear. Breast lump had reduced to 1mm from 25mm. I have just been told rads, herceptin and hormones from here. I wasn’t offered more chemo. I do need a second op to improve margins on breast lump but that should be easier than the first op.
Hope you get the drain out and get good results soon x

Hi everyone. I am new to this forum and am finding all the advice really helpful. I had no idea prior to my own diagnosis, just how many women are affected by this disease. I had neo adjuvant chemotherapy followed by mastectomy and lymph node clearance back in November.  All ok now apart from mobility issues which seem to be common and no radiotherapy needed. I am soon due to go on my first foreign holiday, to the South of France. A fairly short flight but I am worried about lymphodaema which I have thankfully managed to avoid so far. Does anyone know if it is advisable to wear a compression sleeve or do anything in particular to guard against it please?


Im flying to Portugal for my daughter’s wedding in a little over 2 weeks. I ask my BC Nurse about a sleeve or something although I’ve not and don’t want any lymphodaema cording was bad enough so I want to avoid this. BC Nurse said they would only give me a sleeve if I had it & to make sure in flight I’m moving around & moving arm. I’m going to drop in clinic tomorrow as I’m having horrendous side effects with meds so I’ll ask again about flying.

Hi Cartwheels (Ali)
Did you go for auxilia nodes clearance surgery or opt for radiotherapy underarm ?