Breast pain after radiotherapy

Hi I had lumpectomy chemo and radio therapy 4 years so and my whole breast has remained very painful and tender to touch since radiotherapy finished. Does this mean that the pain will never go away and is this normal?

Hi Cara,
I don’t know if it’s ‘normal’, but I am 15 years out of radiotherapy and still get breast pain, though it isn’t all the time, it comes and goes. I do see the breast physio when it plays up, who massages and straps me up. I also have a special bra from the lymphoedema nurse at our hospice. My breast swells up when it’s bad.
The breast physio didn’t exist here 15 years ago, and I didn’t know about her until 7 years ago, but I have often thought that I would have been better if I had seen her earlier.

Suggest mentioning your pain to your breast care nurse, to see what’s available where you are.

All the best to you.


Hi Cara,
Same as you and Kinden. Finished radiotherapy over 3 years ago and still have soreness. Not all the time , it comes and goes, but I definitely take more care not to let my little granddaughters jab/knock that breast when they’re climbing over me. Breast care nurse said, yes , it can last for ever.

Hi thanks for reply I’ve mentioned it to my consultant and I’ve worn the lymphodema bras but not helped at all guess I just have to live with it. Just wondered if anyone else suffers from this.

2019 had lumpectomy and nodes removed. Going through radiation no problem. About 6 months later noticed some discomfort. First was told by surgeon it was probably due to scarring. Discomfort continues but not every day. I noticed if I stay away from chocolate and sugar I don’t notice it at all. My discomfort is more like an aching than stabbing pain. Just recently my radiologist oncologist told me the discomfort may be a side effect of radiation. He didn’t address this is something I may have to deal with long term. I was more focused on what the surgeon told me about scarring. Surgeon told me to massage area that aches. I wish I would have asked the radiologist oncologist early. Appreciate the info others are having.

Hi Cara247

Thanks for posting.

Everyone reacts differently to treatment, but we hear from many people like @jeanann who experience pain or discomfort after their radiotherapy. For some, these side effects reduce over a period of time, but for others they can persist or be permanent and can affect quality of life.

However as @Kindensurprise mentions, it’s important to let your breast care nurse or treatment team know about the pain you have. They can then assess your symptoms and give you further advice on how the pain can be managed.

Some people benefit from specialist advice on managing pain. You can ask your treatment team, breast care nurse or GP if a referral to an NHS pain clinic or pain management programmes is appropriate.

You might also find it helpful to connect with others who’ve had similar treatment and side effects. You can do this through our online peer-to-peer support forum. The forums are message boards where people affected by breast cancer and breast health concerns can learn from other people’s experiences and share their own if they wish to.

You can read the forums without registering. If you would like to join a discussion or start your own, you can use this link to find out how to get started.

In addition you may be interested to talk to others through our Someone Like Me service.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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