Cording after Mx and ANC


I just had my Mx and ANC a week ago, and despite moving my arm around and doing exercises, I can feel some cording. Can anyone recommend any particular stretches or self-massages to help the cording? I can’t find any, and wondered if anyone had found any on youtube etc which helped. I just want to start doing something about it before my appt with BS on Tuesday, before it starts getting worse!


I have cording too after Mx and Anc back in December. I can’t do all the exercises because the skin on my chest is still cooking from the inside out following 15 x Rads and is so sore and tight that I feel that the skin will split.

I hope someone comes along with some answers to this.

Hi KTF and Supertrouper.
I had cording after MX and ALC, which developed first when I was attending the clinic regularly with seroma, so early on.
Breast surgeon just said do the ordinary exercises, BCN said pay particular attention to the one where you slide your hand up the wall sideways, and by doing that to the point where it was going to hurt but not pushing it, it settled.
I had read about getting it stretched and “pinged” by a physio but did not like the sound of that, nor did my BCN. It sounded as if lymph channels would be broken by that just when I wanted them to heal and join up. It did go away,comes back every now and then after for example a lot of gardening but then goes away again.
Here is a link to a fairly recent thread about it, with some very helpful info from Lulu


Hi Lavender
Thanks for this, glad I’m not the only one! It always helps to speak to someone with experience of this - can you put the link in to Lulu’s thread please (I think you forgot it!) - she is a mine of useful information, and know I have seen some stuff she wrote somewhere, but if you know where that’s great.

Supertrouper I’ve been doing those stretches up the wall and have since found this useful little set of youtube movies:

KTF xx

PS Just looking at your “head” photos - we could be the same person from the back! When did you finish chemo?

Oops, I did forget! Sorry about that.
That pic was taken sometime late summer after finishing in January 2011. I should update to show my mop of hair, not the one I used to have but very grateful to have it.–t34260.html

Might be worth checking if there is a women’s health physotherapy service at your local hospital or health centre. I was referred to one by my Breast Care Nurse and the physiotherapist was very helpful in showing my mum and my husband how to massage my underarm area to help with the cording (almost impossible to do on oneself). Cording went away and I’m sure the techniques helped towards this improvement.

Best of luck.

A good way to stretch the arm where the cording is is to do kinda like a Chinese burn… Stretch the skin from side to side rather than up and down… It can be sore to start with so maybe if you take some pain killers about half an hour before the stretching… Another good one is walking up the wall with your fingers above your head.

Thanks Lulu, I’ve been doing the wall one and it is much more comfortable now, although still a bit tight. I’m seeing BCN and BS for results tomorrow so may get physio referral then.

I have also though got a horrible seroma behind my wound, just thinking about it makes me feel queasy. It was syringed twice last week, and now it has grown even bigger. I don’t know whetehr to go and get it drained again or just leave it till tomorrow - not an easy decision as the hospital is 1/2 hour away, not just down the road!

KTF I saw the BS on friday last week to speak about MX in April, he already told me there will be a seroma and I need to come for draining a few times. All this is because I have chemo pre OP. Just mention this to you in case you haven’t been told this and you might worry, but it seems normal for a pre OP chemo girls.

I had bad painful cording after my last docetaxel, I kept stretching my arm out and after a week it basically disappeared.

Thinking of you,

Christine xx


When I spoke to BCN on Thursday she said that if the seroma is making the wound tight then it needs to be drained, while it looks like a waterbed then it should be ok - hope this helps. I should give them a ring if you’re worried about it, it’s a shame they wont do it at the doctors isn’t it? I hope you’re feeling better today.


Hi Weme and Christine! Old friends! Yes I can’t be bothered to go up today to Glos, was hoping a BCN would be in Stroud but she isn’t so Iam waiting until tomorrow. I had a horrible dream last night where my seroma was full of pus, so I woke up not in a very good frame of mind about it! I am now just trying not to think about it until I go tomorrow. it’s difficult because yes it looks like waterbed, but also is making the wound a bit tight, aargh!

Cording much improved, was awfully painful Saturday.

Thank you xxxx

That’s the thing about BC, it’s not JUST the BC, but all the worries the treatment brings with it, the gift that just keeps on giving!! lol.

KTF is it sore to get the seroma drained? Like when they stick the needle in? And who does it? i have been told to need this too after MX as mentioned earlier, now wondering of course what it will be like??!!

Hope you do well,

Christine xxxxxx

Hi Christine

I had mine drained last week and they checked that they had got a numb bit before they drained it - it didn’t hurt at all. A lot of the area is still very numb.

I hope this eases your mind about it.


Christine, draining is fine as Weme and Norberte say - it is actually a massive relief having it done, because it’s quite uncomfortable - today mine was nearly as big as my “normal” breast, and it kinda sloshes around like a water bed! So don’t worry about it too much OK - oh, and the BCN or BS will do it for you.

Norberte, Thanks for the advice about the iodine, I didn’t check today but when I need to have it done again I will make sure they use some! Will be back up there on Friday to get it re-done if I need to, and alsoo the BS put a little steroid injection in there today, she thought that might help cut down the fluid production a bit. We shall see…

teresa xx

can you drive a car or is that too early? We have an automatic volvo, am only 1.5 miles from hospital, would that be any better? i read different things re driving after MX / ANC.

Thanks for the answers, have put my mind to rest.

Love Christine xx

they said 3 to 4 weeks, but I reckon I cd drive now nearly 2 wks after, if I had an automatic. I had my left side done but wd not want to change gear at the moment! They did say nothing set in stone and its really up to you. You have also to think how tight the seat belt will be across the wound area. Excuse typing am on phone.

T x

I had left Mx/ANC too and my only problem with driving was getting into reverse, pulling/lifting the gear-knob over that gate thing, but you never ever have to do that in a hurry, so I used to just reach over and use my right arm! Took several months to get over that issue but the rest was fine, I didn’t ask about driving so they didn’t tell me not to :slight_smile: but I did check very carefully the medical section of the DVLA website!

But I absolutely could not help get mum out of my car, had it been my right arm (or a left hand drive car) it would have been fine.

And lifting shopping into out of the boot… baaaad. Small bags, lots of, and always use a little shallow trolley not a basket. Quit the temptation to cash & carry once a month. Or send OH/DD etc, or phone/online and let them deliver!

Having seroma drained is a moment of wonderful relief. They got nearly 400mls off me the first time and it felt SO much better right away! I reckon if they had drained it again a week later like I asked, I might not have got LE. Hey-ho.

I agree with all the wisdom that has been posted. The relief when a tight seroma is drained is almost instantanious. I found I had no pain during the process because it was numb. As long as all is sterile you should have no problems. Some nurses will send off swabs and a sample of the fluid for microculture to make sure the cause of the seroma is not an infection. Remember a seroma might continue to produce fluid for some weeks. Therefore it will only be drained when tight. A bit of fluid is usually left in to stop the body thinking “oops I am dry…get to work and bathe the area!!!”

It’s also my left side where the cancer is, but maybe with an automatic I should be OK’ish, will see.

The surgeon said to me last friday when speaking about radiotherapy due to seroma the rads will be 7-8 weeks after the MX. Have you been told the same?

Thanks and love,

Christine xx

Christine, they’ve got me booked in 5 weeks after Mx, but Weme was told 3 weeks, so even in the same hospital there are slightly different ideas! Yes I reckon with an automatic you will probably be OK to drive after a couple of weeks.

Cackles and Hymil, thanks for the advice - I will certainly be sticking with online shopping for now! I think I will get back in the car to drive this time next week. Fortunately we live in a small town and the places I mostly go are within walking distance so we are managing so far.

Teresa xx