Peau d'orange after radiotherapy


I had my follow up appointment with my oncologist 4 weeks after finishing radiotherapy. I was surprised as she said I had some lymphoedema in my breast and this was also causing peau d’orange. Not overly concerned and arranged follow up for 4 months.
Has anyone else had this?

Also, and I know this is a stupid question but I had a hormone positive tumour. If there had been any sign of inflammatory breast cancer would that have been found during the pathology assessment? Sorry, just paranoia kicking in!!


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Hi @bordercat

Yes I had some oedema in my breast and peau d’orange ( sounds better somehow in French !) as well. My breast was still also inflamed at this time . It was diagnosed by my BCN at an urgent appointment for what turned out to be an oil cyst - I thought it was normal and it was only when she had me lift both my arms and I could compare in a mirror that I realised that it was oedematous.
It has gone down and the skin texture is back to normal though it took quite a few months . That was 2 months post radiotherapy and I’m now 18 months post.

The advice was to keep doing the exercises and wear a very supportive bra. She saw that I had the M+S post- surgery hook up one and was happy with that. She suggested that if it didn’t resolve I should be referred to the Lymphoedema Nurse but that turned out not to be necessary. Unless you feel it’s got worse a 4 month follow up should be ok but if you’re worried or want another opinion in the mean time I would suggest contacting your BCN. Hopefully it will resolve but I was recently at a local BC support group and one thing that was said was that Lymphoedema is now much more treatable than it used to be and the people in the group who had it agreed that it was manageable.

As for the question re inflammatory BC - I’m assuming that the swelling in your in breast has caused that fear ? This is really a question for the Oncologist or Breast Consultant but the answer is yes if it was there it would have been found on your pathology results . Again if you’re worried your BCN might go through these with you . If you are offered a Holistic Needs Assessment this would also give you a chance to report on your symptoms and get anything clarified that you are unsure about.

Joanne. X

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Hi Joanne

Thanks for replying, that is really helpful. I will do the exercises and see if they help. I still use my supportive post surgery bra. Good to know that ok to watch and wait for now.

I got sent a holistic needs form in the post by my BCN after finished radiotherapy and told if wanted to could complete. Didn’t seem ‘relevant’ but lot of info at that time. Will have another look.

My concern re inflammatory was just because that is mostly what you get when googling peau d’orange. Even though your logical brain tells you to ignore, you still worry!

Hope you are doing ok now 18months out. Wishing you all the best and thanks again.


I’m good thanks for asking - and you’re welcome .

If you’re looking for info on BC make sure it comes from a cancer website - Google isn’t always your friend when it comes to medical conditions . Even then I’ve found that sometimes you need someone in the know to interpret for you or your anxious brain will get the wrong end of the stick.

At a routine post surgery appointment the Breast Physio told me to keep doing the exercises for at least 3 months after radiotherapy but I still try to do a set every day - I’ve got a bit of tightness down my side even so.

I know what you mean about a lot of info - but I’ve had 2 or these Holistic Needs Assessments now it may be worth you doing now your radiotherapy is out of the way.

Joanne x

Hi Joanne

Glad you are doing well.

Yes, by Mr Google just meant the internet. I only use Google as a pointer to proper websites like BCN or proper scientific papers e.g in the Lancet.

Good to know what you were advised re post radiotherapy. I saw one of the nurses for ‘sign off’ but didn’t mention exercises. So started yesterday.

Will also look at the holistic needs.

Thanks again and wish you all the best.


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I developed peau d’orange and lymphoedema post radiotherapy. I am now almost 12 months post RT and have been told the lymphoedema is something I have to live with. I see the nurse every 3 months, have been taught simple lymphatic drainage and a good bra helps


Thanks for this info and sorry to hear you still have issues.

Take care