shall I insist on 'good' arm ? flu jab coming up...

I am having a flu jab this week and although I only had a SNB so only missing 2 nodes I was wondering whether I should insist on having my other arm used, or will it not matter too much ? They have a production line where you literally go in and roll up your sleeve,get punctured and out again - no time for indepth discussions !!! Last year they jabbed it in so that it bled !

Hi Chipper
I had my jab a week ago and mentioned my recent surgery to the nurse. She didn’t quibble and was more than happy to inject my “good arm”. So if you have any concerns just mention it, conveyor belt jabs or not!
Strangely I forgot all about it when I saw my GP and she did my bp on my op arm…haven’t had any repurcussions though. Good luck.

Chris xx

P.s you kindly gave me lots of valuable info re rads well thought I’d let you know I am due to start at Southampton General 3-24 November, after planning meeting on 21 October.

thank you Chris - I was just thinking they might think I was making an unneccessary fuss :slight_smile:

Good luck with rads planning -it’ll be fine-they are so very nice there xxchipperxx

HI there

are you in the Southampton area? I am currently having chemo at Winchester follwed by rads at Southampton General next year.

any advice or tips?


I am about 50 mins away from Southampton - are you near Winch leucite ? I had transport to radiotherapy which was brilliant- it is a very big hospital and I think I’;d’ve fretted about parking every day. Do ask if there’s anything specific you’d like to know -as I said to Chris - everyone there seemed very friendly and kind and it all went very smoothly indeed.


I had the flu jab in my good arm 2 yrs ago while I was on chemo which was before my mx and anc. They asked why I was having the jab and then which side the cancer was so they could use the other arm - I was quite impressed even though it was a production line !! Had this year’s jab 2 weeks ago and it was fine with no side effects.


they don’t usually ask why you’re having a jab at my surgery (I have it as I don’t have a spleen)- I’ll offer my right arm anyway !

Hi Chipper

Always get them to use your good arm. Even with only two nodes removed, there is risk. Better to be safe than sorry and better to make a fuss than suffer the consequences for the rest of your life.

X to all


thanks Bahons - my bcn said that some people only have a few lymph nodes in any case - I shall most certainly give them my good arm

Glad you asked about this Chipper, I wanted to know for mine next week!

Take care

I was told by practice nurse and hospital phlebotomist always insist on using “good arm” I have yet to come across anyone who will object to this in fact I think it’s noted on my med notes at drs.


Risk of what?


Bahons means risk of lymphoedema

Oh, right. Thank you, chipper.

Ann x

Sorry, Ann. I should have said.

Btw, the fun starts when you have no good arms, like me :frowning: for these procedures. Altho’ the nurse has just given OH one on his shoulder…‘top of his back fat’, he called it.

X to all


Yes, definitely ONLY offer good arm for injections or blood pressure, why increase the risk of lymphodema. As an ex-nurse I can say I would have most certainly wanted to know if there was any reason not to use an arm for these. Don’t be afraid to speak up!
Macmillan do a very detailed leaflet on lymphodema by the way if people don’t know much about it and I know BCC do something as well.

Bahons, your situation does sound more difficult and I’m intrigued by injection in shoulder. It would seem logical that there are other places apart from arms for vaccinations.

best wishes all
elinda x

Hi all, Elinda

There’s always an alternative to an arm, I feel (life and death situations excluded, natch) - it’s just that getting medical professionals to accept that they cannot use EITHER arm is considerably more difficult.

They seem to not know about the risk of lymphoedema or have been taught (or dreamt up in the case of some consultants I’ve met) all sorts of odd ideas about the condition. Such as there only being a risk with intravenous procedures and that subcutaneous injections are fine.

BTW, it was my husband, not me, who had the injection in his shoulder. He hasn’t got lymphoedema, but I did think it was a good idea to put it there, for him. However, I don’t think I’d even like my shoulders touched, given the problems I’ve had with those from surgery and radiotherapy.

I try to insist on my feet/legs being used for every procedure. I’ve consented to BP on an arm once or twice and it wasn’t pleasant – ended up being sedated!

X to all


Hi all

I always tried to be the ‘good’ patient before I got BC but now I’m much more forthright even pushy at times. I had some counselling and my difficulty speaking up for myself came up. As my counsellor said to me ‘it’s your body and no one has the same vested interest in it as you do’ and encouraged me to stand up for myself all the time. It doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m doing it.

Anyone having problems - just a thought - when someone tries to do something on your arm/s you could say I was advised by Consultant X at x hospital specifically not to have that done - would you ring him/her first to check that this will be okay if you feel that the situation has changed. Of course they won’t but it might be enough to stop them.

Bahons - I’m sure you’ve explained and tried all sorts to stop them using your arms.
Truly scary that with so many women having had breast cancer that some professionals are so ill-informed or so unwilling to accept the patient knows best.

elinda x

You’re right, I reckon, Elinda

And so was your counsellor. No-one, but no-one, cares more about your health than you do - fact.

The problem, I think, lies in getting the medical profession onside with this issue of arms and lymphoedema. The lymphatic system isn’t well taught (if at all) in medical schools, and sometimes the further up the tree you go, the more difficult it is to convince staff of the importance of taking these precautions; a doctor is often harder to win over than a nurse!

This is the problem that the LSN (Lymphoedema Support Network) faces with getting the medical profession all singing from the same hymnsheet on lymphoedema issues.

I’m afraid this problem has made me into rather a prickly patient; with someone I haven’t met before, I’m particularly on edge, and as for a general anaesthetic…

Yes, it is scary, isn’t it? Awareness among patients is excellent these days; we just need the medics to catch up!

X to all


I had SNB with WLE, and had my flu jab yesterday. Since the op, I have blood tests and flu jabs, blood pressure, etc, all in the other arm and not the side operated on. Thought this was common practice, know that BP is not done on operated side any more.
good luck