Feeling scared about having radioactive injection

Hi all
Help please ladies! I’m having nuclear medicine sentinel node loc and imaging on the morning of my WLE/SNLB op on 20th Nov. So… not sure what pain to expect from the injection of radioactive tracer. I phoned the NM dept today to ask more about the procedure, and asked if they used local anaesthetic first. Been told no local, and injection will feel like a bee sting but only for few seconds. Feeling bit unsteady emotionally today, think news of this primary BC in my ‘good’ breast is now beginning to sink in. I’m ok with needles and injections usually… but thought of this one is making me feel physically sick! Can’t talk to OH or 2 adult offspring, not even my close friends… they’re all upset that I’ve got to have it done at all. The rad active and bluedye injections weren’t done in 2003 when I had MX and ANC op.
Just want to hear from any of you lovely ladies that’s had this injection, and if you found it painful tell me please, at least I’ll be prepared.
Did you feel sore after?
Sorry, having a bad day
Lesley x

Hi May2553,

From what I remember, it didn’t hurt at all (no more than the usual “scratch” of inserting the cannula).

I know anything that is out of our comfort zone can cause anxiety - I remember being concerned about the radioactive tracer and worrying would I glow in the dark! :slight_smile: I honestly remember it being fine though.

Good luck, take care.

K x

Hi Lesley, they inject the blue dye close to the nipple, It was quite sharpe (like a bee sting) but it was over in seconds. I was then left for 10 mins to massage the area where the dye was injected so that this flowed to the sentinel nodes, they then took the X-ray / pictures which highlighted the nodes for the surgeon to remove. Word of warning, your wee and poo will be blue / green shade for a few days whilst the dye leaves your body but this is normal. Good luck for your op on the 20th November. XXX

Hi Lesley,

I had my sentinal node op last Mon. I was in at 8am, given gown, knickers and socks to put on. The first needle in my hand was used to put me to sleep (it didn’t hurt anymore than the other needles I’d had last week). Once I was asleep they did the blue dye…my nipple is still blue from a week and a half, but fading) but there wasn’t any pain in my boob when I woke up, only soreness and swelling under my arm (nothing too bad, I still managed to get myself dressed and have my coffee and toast!). You will be fine xxxx

Thank you K, Tracy, Janet and Betty, your informative msgs have really helped me get my head around the whole radioactive thing. Y’know the old fight or flight response? Well I’ve got my fight back! Couple days ago I just wanted to run for the hills! Thank you all so much, love Lesley x
If you’re wondering why I’m up so late, its bcos I’ve been polishing my battle armour :smiley:

I had my pre-op assessment on Fri. Saturday flew by, and now its Sunday…can’t believe how fast time is passing. Feeling weirdly calm at the mo. Long may it last.

Well ladies… I had the radioactive isotope injection in the nuclear med dept. at 9.30am on morning of my 10.45am op.
The radioactive stuff is couriered over from another hosp every morning. My local hosp doesn’t have the space needed to make the stuff up apparently. Just my luck… the courier was late, due to heavy traffic, so it was nearly 10am before I was injected. Yes you are right it does sting for a few secs, but I took big intake of breath and didn’t breathe until injection was done… all of 5 secs! Ha ha!
Had to lay still for 40 mins while imaging was done, which was difficult, especially as I had an itchy nose and wasn’t able to scratch it.
Got back to the same day admissions unit about 11.15am and apparently my surgeon was not best pleased that I was late back from nuclear meds! I’ve never got changed into gown and socks so quickly in my life. One nurse helped with the gown while another nurse put socks on me and did my identity bracelets, Then l legged it down to pre-op area.
As soon as I saw anaesthetist I told her about courier being late.Turned out that nuclear meds hadn’t informed admissions dept they were running late. Oops!

Hi there, sorry to hear but I am also to have the same radioactive dye put into my breast before surgery and also a radioactive injection into the other side of nipple in same breaste which is supposed to go to the lymph node on route whereby the cancer would travel. I have to have radiotherapy for 3 weeks everyday in order to make sure cancer does not come back. I am sorry that I cannot answer your question but I can empathise with you as I am feeling much the same as yourself. However, I would like to say to you I am going to also be asking the same question in order to be prepared. Will come back to you if I get any answers. Meanwhile take care of yourself. I have had blue dye put into me before but not for cancer treatment. The dye however, is to make clear where the cancer is and as the dye was put to go to kidneys, I felt no more pain than if it were a ordinary injection. Perhaps not the same. Kidney investigations, but still a dye. Hope all goes well for you. God Bless youxx

I noticed this was in 2013 so it would appear I have come to late, but it would be interesting to know what you actual experience was of the injections and the outcome for you. xx


I know this thread is quite old now but just wanted to let anyone who is about to have this know that the injection is fine the blue dye was injected during the operation. Unluckily I was one of the tiny percentage that had an allergic reaction to the dye. I didn’t know anything about it and the surgeons are looking out for a bad reaction and dealt with it immediately. I had to take Piriton tablets for a few days afterwards and obviously make sure I don’t have it again. I was surprised how long the blue colouring lasts it does fade but mine took a good six months or so to go completely. Good luck to anyone about to have this it is nothing to worry about.

I have a lumpectomy scheduled in a few weeks.  Had the biopsy first.  Ill have the radioisotope injection the morning of the surgery.  Blue dye injection will  be done after they knock me out in the operating room.  Glad I read about the radioisotope injection.  Allergy of the blue dye? I dont know. Will let you all know after the surgery!

Hi, I had the dye injection awake with just local anesthetic a week before my first surgery and it was ok, so if there is anyone out there having it done not under a general it is ok and I am a real wimp when it comes to pain.  Blue dye took Nearly a year to go for me.

Hey all,  all this talk of surf like symptoms?  Having my  injection and op a week on Wednesday,  was hoping to come out looking more like Hall Berry in the X Men than a smug,  dreams shattered lol

Absolutely petrified. Having masectomy on 13 Sep and have to go for injection of dye before at another hospital. It makes me cringe to think what they do and I am feeling like doing a runner. Can anyone tell me how they were.Thanks

Having injection In 2 days and feel sick just like you did. Please can you tell me how you got on.Thanks

Macie they look after you very well throughout , I had a local anasthetic which really doesn’t hurt as the needles are so thin, then a Guide wire put in via Ultra sound and then radio active dye injected , never felt a thing, Please let them know how you are feeling and they will do all they can to reassure you, I can honestly say I was so well looked after and found the whole experience so much less daunting than I was expecting, try not to be too frightened as its really ok and you will wake up knowing the dreaded thing has been removed which gives you such a boost, all the best my love xx Jo 

I am also having to face this next Tuesday. My wire is being put in on Wednesday morning and I’m having the op on Wednesday afternoon. Really anxious about the dye injections and the wire thing. Will they numb me first. Think I will just run out if it hurts!! I’m scared!!

Oh I do hope so. The biopsy was just about it for me!! Can’t bear to think about more of the same! I’m such a wuss. Is it the norm that they numb the area first on the nhs?

Thanks for the replies. I am just a wreck both mentally and physically at the moment. I need to put on my big girl pants!!!

Honestly, Ali, it will be fine.
ann x