Shoulder/Rib pain & soreness after partial mastectomy & radiation


   I am hoping someone may be able to offer me some advice or relate to what I am going through. I had a partial mastectomy (2 surgeries) and then 20 radiation treatments in March/April of this year. This was my 2nd cancer (I had and beat Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2011). My breast cancer was the first time I had surgery/radiation. Last time it was chemo.

    I recovered well and then had a total hysterectomy in May (breast caner was hormone positive and this was necessary based on my history). Over the summer I started to get bad shoulder pain at night and more recently an odd soreness below my breast with a little sore “bump”. I know we are all told the ribs may be more sensitive etc but I am wondering if this is normal or if I need to go to the Dr. etc. Is it related to my treatment etc? I’d truly love some advice. Thank you 

Hi there. 
You’ve certainly been through it! I had 3 lumpectomies followed by a Mx and 25 sessions of radiation and I did suffer pain in my ribs and sternum for quite some time after and still do from time to time. Personally, I always ring my BC nurse at the hospital if I have any worries or concerns, which is much more effective than talking to my GP (especially with COVID). They can organise scans if they think it necessary or make you an appt with your surgeon, just to check you out. They are usually very good but you may have to leave them a voice message. No one will think you are a bother believe me. 
Take care xx


I hear you totally regarding shoulder and rib pain and am suffering with both having finished treatment in January this year. I too experience worse pain at night and have areas of my ribs that are so tender I could barely touch it. unfortunately I was pretty much dismissed for any follow ups  due to Covid apparently. Mymoncologist told me it was just something I had to ““deal with””. I did try to but it really began impacting my mental health being in pain all the time. I feel it’s an area that is offered little support in through the NHS sadly. I got to the point of despair with it and i have found a private physio who is working wonders with me, just finished my second session (1hr each time) The relief of being stretched and having my ribs both front and back worked on and gently released was immemse, although and eyewatering treatment at the time it really does help.  it’s also made me feel really emotional as I realise how much pain and anxiety I had been holding onto about it all. I can’t recommend enough being in the hands of a skilled physio who specialises in shoulder function and understands the legacy treatment can leave you with.

In between my sessions i have been gently rubbing my front upper ribs and axillary area with Arnica Salve and it’s really helpful, it has also started to free up the fluid and just generally help me to feel like I’m taking some control back. The usual paracetamol 4 times per day is still essential but the physio has made all the difference. Don’t be fobbed off, it’s a really real symptom and a really real discomfort that you are in, wishing you well xxx