I’m past this stage but have a friend who had surgery a month ago and has developed cording . She’s wanting to know roughly how long it lasts - she has just been told to stretch until it starts to hurt . Does anyone have any info or tips about how to manage it or any resources they used to help deal with it ? 


I’m afraid the answer is the proverbial length of string, or in this case cord. It depends on so many factors, some uncommon. For most women, the recovery exercises will be sufficient. If your friend had full axillary clearance, she may need more.

I was referred to the Oncology Rehabilitation unit and the wonderful physio there gave me additional exercises but it may be too soon if her scar is fresh. The most useful thing she showed me was to locate the lowest point of the cording (mine was just above the inside elbow, recognised by a taut cord or by tenderness) then use 3 fingers and firm circular massage to work your way along the cord to the armpit. Always upwards. I had a great wodge of cording there so I ended with a lot of firm circular massage there. This can be quite painful initially but it soon changes to an ouch, then an ache, then a tautness. You do this several times a day, always ending with sweeping down the side of the body to the waist where there will be plenty of lymph nodes.

If there is swelling (numbness is normal - nerves get severed) she will need to contact her bc nurse because there’s always a chance of lymphodoema which, if caught early as mine was, can be avoided. I’m 4 years on and I still do the massage now and then. Otherwise it builds up again, without the pain. The breast exercises can be for life. Hope that helps. It certainly helps me xx