Breast abcess formed in site of surgery over a year after breast cancer surgery, has anyone else had this problem?

I had lumps under the scar from my breast cancer surgery which was sore. 21 months down the line suddenly I developed an infection in the whole breast more or less and had to have surgery to drain and remove the affected tissue, a 3 day stay in hospital on IV antibiotics and in pain yet again. I have been left with what was my bigger left breast now 1/2 the size of my normal right breast and an open cavity 5 cm deep and 2 cm wide that has to be packed and dressed daily by the district nurses. 3 weeks on and the wound is clean but not healing. Having had radiotherapy the healing will take possibly months, I may have to have further surgery to close it, but this is a long way off!!!
I am really fed up about this not helped by the hot flushing and sweats that happen constantly and affect every part of my day. I was just feeling better after all the treatment and was just about coping with the flushes and sweats before this happened! Thank goodness for the antidepressants or I dont know how I’d have got through all this… Bev.

Hi Bev

I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through such a rough time. I’m sure some of the other members on the forum will soon be along to offer you support.

Don’t forget you could also give our Helpline a call for support. They are open from 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays. Calls are free- the number is 0808 800 6000

Take care and very best wishes


BCC Moderator

Hi Bev, Yes I agree .Praise the Lord for anti depressants.!! My chemotherapy sent me through an early menopause , which along with the Tamoxifen made me feel very depressed, down , miserable and in a really black place. I could not believe how bad I could feel and really wanted out, but thankfully with the right treatment and chats with the cancer psychologist I am starting to feel much improved.
I hope you get sorted soon. It is dreadful when things go wrong. I too got an infection and ended up back on the ward with IV antibiotics for 5 days and a huge seroma that needed draining all the time. Gosh the things we have to put up with eh.
Stay strong and keep cuddling your grand children. !! I only have one daughter and I would love her to gift me a grand child, but as she is only 20 in sept I think I will have to wait a while longer. Take good care of yourselves, Tracy

So sorry to read what you have been going through. This horrible disease has surprises round every corner!
Do hope you are starting to feel better - sounds like quite a long process. The trouble is our bodies have already been battered by all the treatment so any further health problems seem to hit us so badly.

Take care x

Thank you all for your support it has been about a year since I was last on this site, you eventually get to a stage where you move on and try to put the cancer thing behind you and it’s not part of every day.
I had forgotten the seroma thing, had a good size one but no infection with it and luckily the numbness mean’t I never felt the needle when it was drained. There seems to be so many things to deal with alongside the treatment! I think it’s the fact that I was getting back some feeling of well being then this came along. I am not so much depressed but annoyed about it, as it is affecting my everyday life.
Best wishes to you all xxx

Hi Bev,
Sorry to hear about your recent surgery. Its alot to cope with, so sending you lots of well wishes.
Iwanted to let you know about my experience which is both similar/different.
I had bilateral mastecomies in Feb of this year (long story). One of my breasts had been treated for b/c in 2009 and I had a WLE and rads. Although the breast healed and looked fine, by May it was very swollen and inflamed. It emerged that I had developed an infection and inflamation due to the rads in 2009 and in June I had to have a radical mastecomy. They had to remove alot of skin and tissue. There is still one section of the incision which has not healed and weeps. I have been told we have to wait until I finish chemo (another long story) and if it is the same, surgeon will trim and re-stitch. Marvellous!
I know there are some differences here- your infection was a longer time post op and you had not had reconstrution. But, I was told that infections can flare up up to 3 years post surgery- although these are rare. Even ladies without b/c sometimes develop beast abcesses. The complicating factor for us is radiation treatment which seems such a breeze aafter chemo, but which as I have learnt to my cost, has very long term implications for healing.
Its so and nothing I can to say which will take away what you have been through. Just try and hold on to the fact that you WILL get better.
Rattles x

Hi Rattles,
sounds like you have been through the mill. The cancer treatment just goes on and on. I think the most difficult thing to deal with is the worry that every new pain swelling etc is the cancer growing back and it is hard to convince yourself it hasn’t. Then just when you are feeling better and getting more relaxed about the whole cancer and treatment and that you are cancer free that something comes along and upsets the apple cart and you move back several steps.
Thank you all for your support, sometimes it just helps to have a whinge and then get things back in proportion and carry on. Best wishes to everyone and stay well, Bev xxx

I had an infection within a week of surgery and was taken back into hospital (on christmas eve) and spent about a week there having intravenous antibiotics that had no effect. After a week of getting nowhere, my surgeon made a big hole in the side of my breast which drained out the gunk which at least relieved the pain. Then it was back and forth daily to the hospital for around a month for the packing bit. After it healed I had radiotherapy, delayed by about three months because of the infection.
A friend who got breast cancer had the same experience as you and when I complained about my rapid return to hospital after surgery she said she thought it was better me getting it earlier and getting it over with!
For ages my scar looked terrible but now ten years on it is quite small, silvery and not that obvious considering the pain and effort I went through.
I remember having to wear a strange stringy pouch over my front to put the dressings in, it was converted from a strange stringy knicker thingy by cutting through a few stitched which would have been the crotch of the knickers. Yes I was a sight for sore eyes under my clothes. I wore a baggy jumper for months.
I now wear underwired bras and all sorts. It’s weird looking back ten years to how I was then, so glad I’ve not gone back.


Thanks for letting me know Mole, they have said the healing will take months as already had the radiotherapy which is slowing down the healing. The district nurse probed and from 5cm at time of op about 3 1/2 weeks later it is now 4cm deep which is more improvement than I thought, happy days at least that is progress.
My breast was lumpy and tender from after the surgery and the medics kept saying it was fine and would settle down. It is itchy but not painful now and is packed with some algae ribbon and covered with waterproof dressing so at least I can shower whenever I like which is great. I think it is better to get it over quickly rather than worrying what is causing it and that the cancer may be back and hopefully now my breast will not be so lumpy around the scar. The surgeon will probably reclose the wound so it is neat like it was before, keeping fingers crossed for that.
I think we all just want to get the surgery and treatment over and be normal again but its a new normal now.
Bev xxx

Hi. I’m new on the site, the reason I joined is that I needed to know whether anyone else was experiencing the same problems as me. I had a WLE on 26/09/12 followed by an infection that was drained during an ultrasound. The hard red area never went away and I was told that this was normal and may never go away. I started radiotherapy in November and experienced redness, soreness and extreme fatigue. In December a boil appeared and was aspirated at the breast clinic. It showed a small amount of fat and oil and I was told it was a cyst. Within 3 days, my boob exploded with a huge amount of pus through the needle hole. It kept weeping and I was sent for an ultrasound. A 2.5cm pocket of pus was found and aspirated. This week another boil appeared and exploded yesterday, again an enormous amount of pus. I had it dressed at the clinic but I get the impression that they feel I’m being a wuss. They keep telling me that all the samples taken for path tests come back normal and this is just an unfortunate side effect of the radiotherapy. I have been really positive throughout but this is getting me down.

Oh knickers, just spent half an hour on update and rant as so fed up, went to post and it’s disappeared due to a problem!
… Bev.