breast shrinkage/hardening

hello ladies, I’m due to start rads on Monday (15 fractions, 40 gys) afte a WSE. I’m incredibly nervous about it and have postponed it three times already. I am particualrly anxious about the breast shrinkage and hardening that can take plave up to a few years afterwards and wondering if anyone could share their experiences (good and bad) with tme. many thanks xx

Hi Mazonga

I finished my radiotherapy in August 2009 and my boob has definately shrunk. So much so that I am now going to see my breast care nurse to get a prothesis to even me up with the other side. I am hoping she will be able to tell me if this shrinking will continue, I think it will.

I have also had problems with nerve pain down the arm on the side of my radiotherapyt which has now progressed to my left arm. I get pain in the shoulder, elbows, wrists and hands. I’m not entirely sure how this happens as a result of rads but am told it can sometimes. I have the pain since last March when I was first diagnosed with tennis elbow and sent for physio. Obviously it wasn’t tennis elbow and the physio hasn’t worked so am now waiting for an appointment for the Pain Clinic.

Hope the treatment goes well for you.


Hi just to say I had radiotherapy 4 and a bit years ago. Breast for me was firm and harder for a good long while after, but now has i guess over time got ‘softer’ and is undoubtly smaller! But that said my thought is is radio is recomended-take it no question-one smaller boob
is a small price to pay

Hi Mazonga,

I too am about to start Radiotherapy sfter WLE and am really nervous, particularly about breast shrinkage. How many fractions and gys did you have.

Tiny Tina

Hi girls , Sorry meant to address my last posting to Dizz.

Tiny Tina

Tiny Tina, When do you start?I start on the 9th, been out today to buy fragrancefree shower cream and big tub Aqauous cream.
Good luck, onwards and upwards!!

Hi Andrea,
I start on the 7th. Have been using the aqueous cream for a few weeks now I’ve loaded up on Simple shower gel but radiographers have told me I can’t use it during treatment I can only use the soap. Apparently the gel may contain metallics. What gel have you been recommended to use. Also on one of the other sites I read about Radiance Gel by Penny Brohn which the girl used during rads, she used aqueous cream just after rads session and radiance gel three times a day. I’m going to have a look at it and speak to readiographers as the results were favourable.

Good Luck

Tiny Tina

if i might just add, a great skin cream for breast cancer patients. Recovery was developed by a cancer patients for those undergoing radiation treatment,

Tina - I was told at my pre-rads appointment to use aquaeous cream up to 4 times a day (which I only did twice a day) and that I should get some Soap and Shower Cream/Gel from the Simple range to use, which I did. I used it daily throughout the 20 sessions which I finished on Tuesday and had no problems at all. Infact, they told me it was other soaps and shower cream that contained the metallics which would react with the Rads and also make my skin sore.
I have also been told to continue using the aquaeous and the Simple shower cream for a further two/three weeks.


Hi all

BCC have produced a publication called ‘Radiotherapy for primary breast cancer’ which you may find useful to read. It looks at what radiotherapy is, when it is given and its possible side effects. If you would like to order a copy or read this on line just follow the link below:-*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/137/

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Tiny Tina /Icky k, It was the simple shower Gel with chamomile I bought, hope it’s O.K, the nurse suggested Simple but did’nt specify.Tina-Good luck for the 7th, are you having 15 sessions?
Ive been out and bought myself 15 daily treats, including white chocolate covered strawberries, Thorntons chocs, face and hair pacs, hot chocolate and marshmallows. I’m topping it all off with a bottle of pink champagne on day 15!
Abit ironic that all the newspapers are saying obesity/alcohol is contributing to the rise in B.C and I’m going to end up two stone heavier when I’ve troughed all that lot!!!
Once again -good luck

Andrea - I used three different Simple shower gels/creams and have had no problems with any of them. The Nurse just said I could use the products from the Simple range, she didn’t say I had to avoid any particular one, so I’m guessing they are all ok.


I finished my 15 cycles of rads in March this year. There is some shrinkage. I have noticed my breast getting quite hard. I still have a lot of hard scar tissue but can’t tell if its more lumps or side effects. Hoping its the latter obviously! Need to go for a check up I think, just for peace of mind.

Hi Roz

I finished 20 cycles of Rads last October and 2 weeks ago I found my breast was swollen and had hard lump tissue. You can imagine how I felt I thought please do let it be anything sinister.

Saw my breast surgeon on Thursday and it is FIbrosis of the breast which can come from the radiotherapy. I also had an ultrasound just to check there was no fluid and it was clear what a relief.

Hope this helps you a little.

Love Anne xx

Thanks Ann. Will get it checked this week. Just feeling really tired at the moment. Its odd, but I didn’t get too tired throughout treatment. Could sleep for England now! Am also a bit down as one of my friends lost their fight this week. Will post results. Thanks again xx

Hi Roz

Sorry to hear about your friend, it is awful when someone you care about dies. I was going through my treatment last year when my friend’s husband died. He had an aggressive brain tumour and knew from the start he had only about 2 years to live.

He was there for me when I was going through all my treatment what a wonderful guy. My friend was dealing with her husband plus supporting me. I can’t thank her enough.

Hope your spirits pick up soon, and please let me know how you get on.

Love Anne