Radiotherapy - Continuing Side Effects - How Long?

Hi All
I’m keen to find out from others who finished radiotherapy a while ago (i.e. months or even years), what side effects continued afterwards, and for how long?
I’m 2 months post-rads & my breast is still stiffening up, so I wondered how long this is likely to last.
Sarah x

I am 2.5yrs from rads and breast is still v tender. Also get terrible muscle cramps in chest from rads damage.

Bumping this up.
Please - I really would like some info from ladies who’ve been through the rads process.

Me too, I am 5 weeks post rads and very tired, bit down and have very sore joints, not sure what to take or if it’s even a side effect as original thought was jetlag from long haul flights just after rads. Have been back 2 weeks but feel like getting worse. I too have the “electric shock” pains in left breast and nipple keeps changing colour/sore/peeling, might go to see GP to put my mind at rest - any others can share their experiences with us?
Lorraine x

Hi Lorraine
Looks like we’re wasting our typing efforts here! I suppose all the others who finished rads ages ago have moved on with their lives and don’t call in here any more - understandably.
Sarah x


i am 3 yrs post rads, i have now lost my "sun tanned breast " but it still is sore inside did mention it and was told just to take paracetamol so i suppose it may never stop being tender but the difficult bit is not knowing what is normal and what is not.
it did take 2 and half years to soften up again and is smaller than the other one but i think that is surgery too.

hugs to all


Hi Annie, thanks for sharing your rads experience, sounds like we are in for the long haul Sarah! Hope other post rad ladies can share their experiences.
Lorraine xxx

Hi Lorraine,
It’s 3 month since I finished rads, I was very tired during and after for a few weeks. I still do get tired some days. I have had a haematoma for a while but it seems to have gone down a lot in recent weeks and the pains I was getting constantly are subsiding. I do get some soreness on my ribs where I had the rads. I have also been getting stabbing pains which come on very suddenly.I mentioned this to my GP the other week and she thinks it will be nerve damage. Apparently when you have surgery they sometimes cut through nerves and it can take time for them to heal.
I understand that it can take a while to feel that you are through the other end of the treatment, but at least we are getting there!
I hope that this is of some help to you and i’m sure that other people will come to give you an insight into their experience of rads soon.

Take care,

Isabelle xxx

Hi Everyone,

Hope this is the correct place to place this.

I’m 10 days into treatment, and have continious aches in one of my arms, suspect it is from having the arms up everyday. Spoke to the Radiotherapist who said she has heard of others with this problem.

Anyone else experienced this sympton?

Thanks for any advice, and good luck to everyone with their treatment.

Dotty2 xx

Hi Dotty2
Can only suggest that you do the recommended exercises several times per day, with particular emphasis on the ones that have you stretching your arm above your head. That should gradually make the awkward position on the rads machine more comfortable.
Sarah x

Thank you Cheshire Cheese.

Haven’t been given any advice on exercises. I will ask Rads staff if they can supply some info.


Dear Dotty2

You may find our publication and dvd on exercise after treatment helpful, I have put the links to the informaiton below.*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/101/*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/159/

Best wishes

Hi Dotty2 can I agree with Poppy BCC.I regained quite good arm movement after surgery but during rads developed really uncomfortable sensations in axilla upper breast and arm all on affected side.Was sent to physio but she was at a loss as I can move my arm. I do think this is nerve pain and that I am impatient. However besides doing the exercises on the BCC leaflet 3 times a day I also use the BCC DVD and this has helped enormously in that stretching my arm seems to reduce the nerve jangling, prickly, shooting sensations. Hope this helps.
Love Jackie

I am three years on from rads. I can’t remember now about stiffness, but I continued to get random pains in the area for a long time. I haven’t had any for a while now, but don’t know if that means they’ve stopped altogether or just that they’re getting more infrequent.

I sill do exercises every day to keep my shoulder & arm loose. If I stop it all tightens up. I assume I will be doing these for the rest of my life.

Hi everyone, I just wanted to post a couple of things that might help. The Penny Brohn Cancer Centre in Bristol have a cream (radiance cream) that has been demonstrated in tests to be more effective than aqueous cream. they also provide other supplements that help with radiation side effects, for instance, astralagus, which has been shown in some tests to make radiation more effective at targeting bad cells. All of this can be ordered over the phone or online. they also run free residentials for people who have/have had cancer. I would whole heartedly recommend them. Jane Plant (Your Life in Your Hands) recommends eating seaweed, an organic egg and lots of garlic daily while you are having radiotherapy, something to do with the anti-radiation diet followed by astronauts. Herbalists and homeopaths can treat you to protect and repair cells and to make radiotherapy more effective. I am currently on both homeopathic and herbal treatment as i am due to begin radiotherapy (although I am not certain I will undergo this treatment). best wishes to you all.

PS Just wanted to add, I know some of the stuff i mentioned is mores suitable for when radiotherapy is taking place, but some of it may help post-radiotherapy too.

Thank you all for your really helpful advice. I am now doing the exercises.


Really interested in this thread because I finished rads in May and have found that breast chest and underarm all seem to have hardened and stiffened and are quite uncomfortable all of the time. BCN said this was to be expected and would probably be with me forever!Hope not. Have good movement in shoulder and arm and put this down to Pilate’s which I did before dx and continue to do once a week.Would really recommend it. Like Roadrunner I find if I don’t keep exercising it stiffens up and have sent for the DVD to do as well.
Hope more people who have finished for a few years post with their experiences. Marli

Hi Marli
Like you I am finding that Pilates exercises are proving a winner in dealing with the post-rads stiffness. In the first few weeks after finishing rads I needed to stretch my armpit and breast area about 5 times per day, working really hard at it, but now doing it only twice a day. If I don’t do it my boob starts to set solid.
Sarah x

I’ve been reading this thread with interest, 6’th Jan I decide whether to undertake Rads or go for more drastic treatment/surgery. The shoulder/ arm pain/discomfort you ladies mention, is that caused by the radiotherapy or is it previous surgery that causes it?