Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?


I had 4 wks of rads a year ago, and for a few months I have been getting a bruised pain on the rib where my bra sits. My bcn said that its normal and its an after effect of the rads. The pain tends to come and go. The last couple of days I have had ALL the ribs on that side feeling bruised and sore to touch. The very bottom rib seem too low to have been zapped with rads? I know there have been some topics on rib pain, but has anyone had/got where ALL the ribs on the rads side feel bruised?

Thanks in advance

Hi Lolly

Its strange to see your post as I have had quite painful, bruised ribs which really hurt when I lay on my side, for the past couple of days - and it is 2 years since finishing rads!! Still hurts a bit today but not half as much. I havent done anything which could have caused this out of the blue - havnt coughed for example - so have no explanation but like you I have seen topics on rib pain here but didnt think I could have it so long afterwards?

Love Laine

Hi there, I also have struggled with painful ribs and was told that it is down to the rads.I still suffer now and its 18 months since i finished the treatment but i have had 2 reconstruction ops in the past 6 months so im putting it down to that now!
I read somewhere that the radiation can make the ribs brittle and can cause long term damage. I do always think that these things do need checking out though if not to put your mind to rest.
Take care Helenxx

Hi Lolly

Another rib pain sufferer with swelling and hardness still too. I see my consultant next Friday and will be bringing all my worries up then. I finished my rads last August and the pain seems to be worsening. I can no longer sleep on that side.

Would be great to hear from someone who has found it does go away eventually :slight_smile:

Judy x

Hi Lolly,

Yep painful ribs here too, finished rads early Jan and my discomfort is all over but can change from day to day. I have found my very last ribs around my back to be the worst at times and I was not even zapped there! Also like Judy I cannot sleep that side just too uncomfortable. Does this last forever?

Best wishes

Gilly x

Oh my god…am I happy I found you ladies!

I have been beside myself for the last couple of days with the tenderness on my mx side around the rib cage. I seem to be suffering with really tender skin more than pain…I feel like I have been kicked by a horse!

Finished rads 2 weeks ago today and am hoping this this is the cause of the discomfort - my mind has been going mad as I’m sure you will understand. Had a bone scan and CT scan October last year which were all fine but still can’t help worrying.

Hi all

Just wondering how everyones rib pain is?

Judyw - what did your consultant say?

Im finding that my on/off rib pain is now around the side as well as the front, which makes it harder to lye on that side. BCN says normal part of rads but will check with onc in June.

Hi Lolly and all rads side effect ladies…

Keep getting lost on these threads…put my update on a different one duh!

My consultant told me the painful ribs are definitely a side effect from rads. The swelling, lumpiness and redness of the breast is to do with trapped fluid. Was told that we react in different ways to the treatment…hence some ladies having these problems and some getting bad burns. I did have 30 treatments. Was advised to try going bra less as often as I could and that does seem to help although not practical all the time.

They have asked me to go back on 1 June (8 weeks after I last went) and have always said any real worries to contact them sooner. At least they are keeping an eye on it.

Best wishes to you all from Judy x

I am about 5 weeks post rads now and the rib pain has eased up loads. I will still mention it to my onc when I see her later this week though.

Hope everyone else is feeling better too

I’m part way through my rads & don’t have any rib pain as yet, but thought the following would be worth posting.
I occasionally suffer from back pain & see a chiropracter about it. I last went a fews days before my op as I didn’t want to be doing breast surgery & back pain at the same time. When I told my chiropracter about my diagnosis, he said that he wouldn’t be able to treat me for some time (at least 18 months I think) after my radiotherapy becasue of the risk of damage to bones. A bit of a shame as my back is not good at the moment and I know he could sort it out in one session , but I’m having to manage it with ibuprofen.
I hope all your rib pains are fleeting
Phili x

Yep, I’m in the rib-pain club too!! Wasn’t too bad shortly after radiotherapy but from a few months after it became a regular occurrence. I like the example someone gave of it being as if kicked by a horse. That’s just right. I’ve described it like having being hit with a baseball bat. And its been on my whole rib cage too but not permanently luckilly. Sometimes its only on my bra line. Anyone worked out how to reduce the pain apart from paracetemol? Would rather use something more natural rather than yet more drugs.

I’m over 2 years on from rads now and still get the odd stabbing pain when I least expect it, usually in the bottom 2 ribs. I spoke to the Consultant at my last mammogram follow up in December and he said it might never go. I am also still pink on that side and sometimes feel I could do with my left bra cup being bigger than the right because when I take my bra off at night you can see where it has cut in.

Hi All,

It is so good to hear I am not the only one with rib pain. I have a large red swelling below my ribs in the middle with severe pain. I am currently on morphine for the pain but my GP has requested I see my oncologist who I am seeing on Friday.

Has anyone else had any swelling or just pain.



I am 18 months after radiotherapy and I am now suffering severe rib pain and a large swelling below my ribs, pain is so bad I have been put on morphine by my gp. I am going to see my oncologist on Friday. I have been very worried but I am please to see other people also have pain.

Does anyone have a large swelling as well as the pain.


Ive not had any swelling, just a bruised pain that comes and goes.

Buup bump bbump
for everyone who has similar questions january 2013

Just found thread. I had WLE and 16x rads 2009. No rib pain initially but now get a “kick” in ribs on affected side if twist or slouch on sofa. Not told anyone but am waiting for clinic appointment as have found another lump so will mention then. Hate waiting - no date yet

I too have very painful ribs & more recently a stabbing pain in boob on rad side, plus pins & needles and aches & pains in same arm. My treatment was 2 years ago & pain is worse now than just after treatment.
I went to see my BCN in Nov last year as i was concerned with pain and & she thought rib pain was down to rads & arm problems were post op trauma & nerve related & gave me excercises to do. I then saw my consultant this week & told him i was still suffering from a lot of pain & he thinks the rib & boob pain is still from the rad treatment?
Maybe it is rad damage causing the pain, but I find it difficult to believe that the pain is actually getting worse over time rather than better? That just doesn’t seem right does it?

Hi Midgemoo

Welcome to the forums, I’m sorry to read that you are having a rough time at the moment. I’m sure some of the other the users will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime maybe it would help to talk things through with a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hello, I have rib pain that just started. I finished my RD April 2016, I was worried until I started reading what everyone is saying ,sure made me feel better, I do see my oncologists on 1-27-17 just to make sure everything is ok, just like you should do for that lump you found, trust, I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, BUT GO NOW, AND TAKE GOD WITH YOU .