Late Effects of Radiotherapy?



I was wondering if anyone else had experienced twinges and slight swelling of their breast months after radiotherapy?  I had a month of radiotherapy in February and recently I have experienced occasional twinges (surprisingly on the other side of the same breast I had a WLE on) and I am sure that I am not imagining swelling of the breast too!  I also have an achey shoulder, which I originally put down to sleeping in an awkward position.


Is it possible that these could be late effects of the radiotherapy?


Any replies would be greatly appreciated!



Hi Louise,


When you say twinges do you mean very short sharp shooting pains…a bit like a little flash? If so I was told it’s the nerves repairing after the radiotherapy. I looked upon them as a weird but good thing!


Re slight swelling, I know it can take in the region of 6-12 months for swelling after surgery to completely go. Clearly the size and type of surgery may also be factors (I had 3 lots of surgery at different times, lumpectomy, radio then 2 reductions on the other side a few years after). Let alone cells being zapped on top. Maybe phone the breast care nurse if you think the swelling is new, just to double check.


Re achy shoulder, you might want to try doing the post op shoulder exercises since they can help during/after radio too. And you are quite right it could just be through sleeping position.


I hope your recovery continues to go well, 

X Seabreeze

Hi Louiseh,

Just seen your post regarding twinges in your breast on the other side to the surgery site.  I had a lumpectomy last August with a second operation to remove a bit more to give a clear margin. I then had 15 sessions of radiotherapy which finished early November.  Earlier this year I noticed a slight swelling and also I was getting twinges and a bit of pain on the opposite side to the surgery.  I have since seen my surgeon for my one year check and glad to say the swelling is perfectly normal, slight water retention, a result of the surgery.  He recommended massaging out and away from the nipple which should encourage this to go. Then he mentioned that I had radiation scarring opposite to the excision site, again massage should help this, felt a lot like the scarring on the excision site to me, lumpy and a bit uncomfortable.  I must admit I was dreading this check as I was convincing myself that there was something wrong.  Hope that this helps, my surgeon told me after my surgery to massage with Bio Oil and to use this to reduce the swelling and the radiation scarring. Hope all goes well.