Pain in collar bone and shoulder after MX

I had an MX, right side Dec 3rd, 4 months ago with Node Biopsy which was clear. I am on Tamoxifen, no Chemo or Rads. I am right handed.

I have aches in my collar bone and pain in my shoulder than is bothering me. Has anyone else had the same?

I have crap joints anyway as am Hyper-mobile and have had op to repair torn tendons on other shoulder a few years ago. I think I may have pulled something but it has been a few weeks now.

The pain in my shoulder can wake me up at night and I’m not sure if I am just over doing things and because I am now sleeping on the side I don’t usualy sleep on I just stiffen up.
I did mention it at my Oncolgy appointment but neither the Oncologist or BC Nurse said anything.

Half of me is rationalising it and putting it down to the above and the other half is panicing that I have mets.

What should I do. I just wondered if this is common after an MX.
Any thoughts?

Anxious in Ruislip!

Dear Anxious,
Sorry to hear that youre still having problems but, you wont want to hear this, Ive still got a very painful shoulder and its almost 2yrs since my MX. Some days its quite bad, Ive never yet had a day
without painkillers, finding a comfy position in bed is difficult, if I lie on my good side and my arm falls across my scar line, I get a burning sensation in my armpit,my shoulder blade feels as if its poking through my back and the top of my arm feels as if some-ones gripping it tightly,but, thank God, Ive not got lymphodema. I also get a lot of arthritic pain in the back of my neck but Id developed that pre-BC so it doesnt worry me that much. I take glucosamine & chondroitin and cod-liver oil which I think helps, plus if its really bad I heat up my wheat bag in the microwave and drape it round my neck.
Im sorry I cant give you much comfort but I dont think any of these aches & pains of mine are cancer related, my onc saw me last month and now doesnt want to see me for a year. The most effective pain killer I take is for nerve pain, it`s called Lyrica, 2nd best is Tramadol.
Hope you get some relief, love Mags xxx


I had MX 4 weeks ago,and like you worried re the pain. However I had not been doing my exercises and since doing them the pain in my back and scar area has improved. I have not experienced pain so much in my shoulders. However I know from my BN this is very common.I dont think I fully appreciated what a major operation a MX is, and our bodies are going to take time to recover. We have lost muscle from our chest and other areas now have to compensate.I hope this helps.

Jo x

Hi, I am in a similar position. I had mx in sept, full node clearance, followed by FEC and am in middle of radiotherapy. For several weeks now my shoulder ( same side as mx ) has been painful, it comes and goes but I feel it is not improving and these past few days has been bothering me constantly. Have seen physio and there is nothing she can identify so am seeing onc next wk. I am also worried this could be start of bone mets - any pain I get at the minute I am convinced is the spread of this dreadful disease.

I too have shoulder pain. My mx with axillary clearance was nearly 2 years ago and I’ve had problems ever since. I have been having physio for the past year but she says there’s not a lot she can do. I do have lymphodema on that side but fortunately that doesn’t affect the shoulder region.

For some on this thread it’s very early days post op so the outlook may well improve. I’ve found the best thing is something like yoga and regular stretches. My armpit is so tight from scarring following the node clearance that I think that’s a big culprit. I’ve also lost a lot of chest muscle and those muscles are used for doing things with the arm and hand too. All in all it’s a massive shift for the body.

As to worrying - I can’t help it when my shoulder feels particularly bad even though my physio has tried to reassure me. Elinda x

Thanks for taking the time to reply girls.
It’s always good to hear your stories and your courage.

It has reassured me somewhat that it is quite common although nothing is ever going to remove that doubt from my mind. I will speak to my BC Nurse again.

My shoulder pain is really bad today and I put that down to the 4 hrs of cake baking on Fri night for a table sale on Saturday, Shifting tables and chairs around for said table sale and the 17 shirts I ironed on Mothering Sunday.
I think I have way over done it but I find it so hard to slow down.

I had 5 months off work this last year. 3 last May for a MPFL ligament reconstruction on my knee and 2 months for the MX in Dec.
I’m 41 and I feel twice that some days, It’s been one hell of a year!

As soon as I am on my feet again I just want to get on with living but I need to realise that I can’t do what I used to be able to do at quite the same breakneck speed.

I am not on pain relief. I live with a certain amount of pain all the time with my knee, but it’s quite severe this morning so will dose myself up.
I am seeing my Physio tommorow (was sent to her for cording but that’s long gone) she massages my scar which is good but I’ll see what advice she can offer me for my shoulder.
Son had massive nosebleed all over his bed 1st thing this morning so no rest for the wicked!

I am 20 months out from a mastectomy, have bad lymphedema in trunck, some in arm. I have the same pain, shoulder and clavical area. How are you now? Thank you.

I have the same thing!!! Achy collarbones, shoulders, knees
I was scared it was bone cancer after my lumpectomy and chemo
You have made me feel So much better that someone is experiencing the same thing?

I have same achy collarbones!! I was so scared cancer was creeping into my bones!
Thankyou for posting this

Me too Alycat. Two years since mx and node clearance. Always been flexible and reasonably fit. Got bAck to yoga three weeks after mx.

Bones and joint pain is getting progressively worse - and really bad on days I dont exercise. Thumbs, wrists, ankles, knees, hip - feel like a creaking old lady!!

Are you on Tamoxifen?  If yes your shoulder pains might be connected from what I read…   I had my mx 3 weeks ago and am still in a lot of pain, needing the max dose of paracetamol and nurofen and sometimes codein.  Hope it gets better soon for both of us. Good luck!