Rock hard boob

Now at the age of 40 you would think I would be delighted to have a very firm boobie once again … but this thing seriously is rock hard! Within weeks after surgery I developed a very large and very hard lump behind my scar - this was checked by BCnurse and she assured me it was perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. I also had tightening and chording from in my armpit, down my arm and down the side of my chest. I’m not overly concerned about this current tightening and hardening as I’m sure it is the rads irritating the scar tissue (I’ve had previous lung surgery on that side so had a fair amount of scar tissue in there anyways) but it’s just sooo annoying.

Hi again

I am no expert but from what you describe, it does sound like inflammation and probably a collection of tissue fluid in response to the rads. I have only had 5 lots of rads and already my boob feels a lot hotter than the normal one and is a lot harder especially around my scar. If you have had previous surgery, there will be tons of scar tissue that will all respond to rads. Its serious stuff, this radiotherapy even though it doesn’t feel like much at the time. each time I have a session, I feel shivery and flu like which is the inflammation bit. Have you tried putting some cool clothes on your boob to see if that helps?

As I said I am not actually worried about it … just thought I would add it to the list of things. Prior to the rads I had a week of intense physio and part of it included the physio woman stretching my side… it was wonderful at the time and she showed me how I could do it myself at home … but she did say that during rads it was a big no-no as it could cause more damage to the skin in it’s delicate state. Now given that I am resembling cock robin at the moment I am not about to go aggrivating the situation further!

I’m sure it will sort itself out in time … and as the medical lot keep saying it’s ‘perfectly normal, nothing to worry about’

I’m also getting those nasty little stabbing pains which just seem to come out of nowhere and make you kind of go ‘ooh’ - yesterday it happened in the checkout queue in Asda - I’m sure the poor man standing behind me wondered what was happening … good job I’m not still suffering the itchy problem cos I’m not sure I would be allowed out in public with both !

I also had those stabbing pains like a needle had been left inside and suddenly jabs you - odd but they have gradually gone (9 weeks since I finished rads)
I had a mastectomy so no problem with a firm boob (if only!!) but the chest wall became very tight during and after rads. At one point I was gently massaging the area 3 times a day with aqeous cream especially along the scar or on anything that felt like scar tissue and still do most morning and evenings. The whole area is less tight but still feels at times as though eveything has become stuck to my ribs - that calls for a firm massage across chest wall - but not in Asdas!
From what I’ve read the area needs exercising / stretching for up to 2 years after rads- think of the toned upper bodies we will have.

I’m coming to the end of my rads program and am looking forward to the time when I can get back to the massage …I’m thinking of asking around to see if anyone has a spare good looking young man who might be willing to come round and offer me a hand (pardon the pun)

Sorry Lilacblushes can’t oblige.
On a more serious note I had been wondering about haveing a message having only ever had one about a year befor bc and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since then I was told by a friend that massages were out due to bc. Have now been reading an interesting thread under Complementary therapies about reflexology and massage - so may follow that up.

I read that massage can be a no-no after BC but I think the gist of it was if there was any cancer left floating about massage could spread it around a bit. Not an expect thos so don’t take my word for it. The massage that I am looking forward to is actually more like stretching that the physio showed me, basically to loosen up the scar tissue that I have.

Reading the threads about reflexology it does seem like massage is ok if you contact the right people and there are a couple of organisations listed.
As for the other massage I’ve been seeing a physio at Barts who has been really good - I have cording under my arm down towards the chest somewhere. So far the exercises have improved the movement from 75% to 95% and I’ve been lent a really useful dvd which starts with simple exercices and eventually moves on to using weights which I found so encouraging as I had been led to believe that I couldn’t lift anything too heavy having had a sample of lymth nodes removed.
The only thing is I have to watch the dvd AND do the exercises to get the arm to work. Oh well - no pain no gain.

Hi All
Just picked up this thread and was interested to read of similar symptoms.
My arm pit scar has become very lumpy and my chording is much worse than after WLE and it’s like you describe, lilacblushes, runs down the arm. I can’t straighten my arm out. What exercises were you given? I went privately due to a friend dying last year on the ward where I’d have my op and I feel as though I don’t have access to any support systems.
magsi, I get that stabbing too - it takes your breath away doesn’t it? Stretching for 2 years? What’s the DVD? Is it any good?
I belong to a gym but haven’t been as I’m worried about doing my arm damage by doing the wrong thing.
Does anyone know if, once we’ve had chording, we are stuck with it for ever?
Keep up the good work girls.
Take care
L x

For the chording I had to basically stretch my arm and a bit of hands on stretching of the scar tissue. As I was getting my physio in preparation for rads planning the aim was to get me to a point of being able to get my arm above my head and bent over so that my fingers were touching the opposite ear. The kind lady attending to me did say that my regime was pretty fierce ( I was a week off my rads planning and really not keen to postpone it) and the work we did in that one week would normally be done over approx 6 weeks.

I would have to say that physio is something that should only be done after proper instruction by a qualified physiothereapist … so on that basis, I would not want to give a description of the excercises I was given… I would hate to think that I gave you details of something that would make your situation worse.

As I previously said I can totally understnad the feeling of no access to the support system, but clearly something has to be done with regards to the chording… contact your GP and/or consultant and request physio asap.

After spending a week with the physio I would say 90% of my chording disappeared so hopefully if you can get some help yours will disappear too.

DVD is Reach with Rehab The Oxford Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Programme lent by physio at Barts.
Had cording about 4 weeks after mastectomy and helpful breast nurse said ‘most ladies learn to live with it’ Trawled the internet and found info and an organisation of physios that dealt with cording. E mailed them for a list of qualified physios in my area. They were very helpful and gave me a name and the person it turned out worked at Barts. So when I went there for the planning I asked to be referred to her.
Like lilacblushes lots of stretching basically any stretch that you do needs to be held for 20seconds to be of any use and may cause discomfort but NOT pain.
The dvd starts off with simple exercises and eventually goes on to weights which I found really encouraging as I was under the impression that I was not to carry very much on the affected side.
If you can find a trained physio that would be useful so she can see where you are at and monitor progress.
All the best
Magsi x

L. Physios - go on google and type in ACPOPC then E mail them for people in your area

Cheers, girls. I’ve decided to try and contact my onc for an appointment, just to run things passed him.
Take care
Lx

Hey, lilacblushes - I’ve just typed ‘chording +breast cancer’ in to Google and here I am! It came up with ‘Rock hard boob’ and threw me on to your thread! I’m not sure I’m too happy about it really but I suppose that’s the internet for you.
L x

Hi Lynnieton
Yes scary isn’t it that we get onto these threads via google without a password. I think there was even a thread about others being able to do this.
Anyway just a bit more info you might find useful. I printed off a couple of pages on exercises from one of the american sites. Google - ongoing recovery bc I found it interesting and useful. see what you think

Magsi x

Thanks Magsi. I’ve had a look at the site and feel a bit more confident about using weights etc. again. I’m seeing consultant tomorrow and will ask about physio too.

I find it encouraging that lilacblushes said her chording more or less disappeared after intensive physio.

Sun’s up here, hope it’s the same for you all.

L x

How’s the RHB and did you get 9/10 for skin care, lilacblushes?
L x

the RHB is same as was …not permanantly rock hard but on and off for most of the day … really hard in the mornings when I wake up esepcially if I have slept on that side.

The BCN was well impressed with my skin - she said it was not bad at all. Now to me it is bright red and itches like mad, so if this is not bad then I would hate to see what some of the others look like.

One thing I did learn today was the type of cancer I had … I never asked at the start cos basically I didn’t know to ask … I also kind of thought that breast cancer was just breast cancer. Oh the ignorance was bliss at that point! Anyways - it was ductal. Not that it makes much difference knowing the official name.

Also mentioned ‘the itch’ that I have suffered with my cycle and she is fairly sure that it is a hormonal thing not thrush but says that the thrush creams will probably soothe it should it happen again.

All in all it was good to meet her and discuss a few things. One thing that I did take some comfort in is that she says eventually my periods should stop - no guarantee tho - and at the end of the 5 years and me then being 45 it is highly unlikely that I will then resume having periods.