Sore ribs on BC side


I have developed an area of ‘soreness’ underneath my bust (around where my bra sits) just feeling as if someone has poked me in the ribs and bruised them. There is no outward signs of any bruising. This is the same side was my BC. It is within the area that was zapped with rads and just wondered if anyone else has experienced similar.

I finished rads mid September and am not on any hormone therapy as triple negative.

I see my onc in 3 weeks for my 3 monthly check and will bring this up with her if it persists, just need a bit of re-assurance that this is nothing sinister.


Hi Anita,

I had a lot of random pains in my rib area in the months following rads. I still get them occasionally, and it is now 15 months since I finished rads.

A useful piece of advice I was given is only to worry if the pain is still there after two weeks (easier said than done I know), so I try to take a note of when I first notice each pain, and when the two weeks will be up. The pains are always long gone before then. Hopefully your pains will also be long gone by the time you see your onc.

Best wishes

I finished rads in March 2007 and still get stabbing pains from time to time plus an ache, always the bottom 2 ribs under my bra. I had my 2 year mammogram and follow up just before Christmas and the Consultant told me it might never go. He said they have to irradiate the ribs and this is the downside to it. I also still get nerve pains from my underarm clearance. However, it is all getting better as time goes on.

Thanks Cherub for your advice - I will take on board what your onc has said and certainly will mention it to mine in Feb.

Thanks again

Hi Anita

This is exactly what I have and I’ve had it on and off since July. I finished rads end of March 2008 and it is within the rad area and just where my bra sits too.

It has freaked me out loads but I mentioned to my onc last visit and she said that pains that come and go are not sinister, but she’s going to do a bone scan to reassure me. I have private health cover from my husband’s work so I suppose they will do scans if you want them privately. But, I’ve put off booking the scan as I’m sure it’s just pain from the rads and I don’t want the scan to unearth anything suspicious as I’m not ready for that at all at mo!

Let me know what your doc says but it really sounds the same as me, just rad pain


Hi Hannah

Thanks for your post.

I plucked up courage to ring my BC nurse this morning as I whipped myself up into a real frenzy last night thinking the worst.

I must admit that I haven’t had ‘good’ service from my BC nurse (seen her just once - last April!) but thought I would do myself more damage letting it get me so anxious that it was making me feel ill. So I bit the bullet and phoned saying…“you probabley don’t remember me” - but she did…(must have made a real impact on first sight!)

She has said it is typical symptoms of radiotherapy damage to the ribs and that it is ‘fibrous’. As I have no other ailments or symptoms affecting anything else - this is the most probable reason for my pain. To try and not worry about it as it is pretty common…they don’t tell you at the time of rads tho - do they??? Would save heaps of worry.

She advised to let my onc know when I see her on the 2.2.09 and that it will be probable that I am sent for a bone scan.

I understand your feelings about having scans - the worst of two evils??? But I am of the breed - early detection the better outcome…

I will keep you informed
Best Wishes

Hi Anita,
I’m another one with a sore area on a rib under the BC side! I was wondering how you got on with you appointment on 2nd?

I am planning to use the 2 week rule, and hopefully it will be gone by then. I came out of the blue a few days ago.

Best wishes


Hi Katie61

I did indeed use the 2 week rule and guess what!!! it worked for me. The pain had gone before the 2 weeks was up. I mentioned it to my onc on 2.2.09 and she said it is a definite radiotherapy damage. She wasn’t worried that it was anything sinister but did say that if it comes back and stays for longer to ring the unit and get an emergency referral.

She also said I had slight lymphoedema and that making sure my bra wasn’t tight would help too.

Hope this helps

Four years down the line, I still have sore ribs. I no longer wear underwired bras as it just makes it worse. I also go to an osteopath every two months to have my chest pulled back into shape as the scarring tends to make the muscles tense up, creating all sorts of problems in the upper spine area. It feels great afterwards. I also have to make sure I do plenty of stretching and breathing exercises.
Wearing my bra all day aggravates it, so I only wear it when I have to. This also helps with drainage of lymph.
Hope this helps

I finished rads just before Xmas and have developed the same sounding pain on my ribs although I had it for around a week and it went away, but has come back again (only for about a week so far, but no sign of easing. Does it come and go with anyone else?

If not, I think I’ll also mention to my nurse as I’m not due back for a check until April


The 2 week rule has worked again, pain totally gone even though it was very noticeable and very specific to one area when it was there.
If I remember correctly its part of the healing process after the damage done by radiotherapy. I broke my arm badly (3 places) only 3.5 months before BC and had to have a titanium rod put in, it used to get very sore due to the healing of nerves which had been numbed by my accident, so when the nerves worked again, I felt it! maybe its the same.
Good luck to all of us.


I now have to decide whether to do RADs or not. I have osteoporosis and am wondering if the pain you all have is because of thinning of the bone caused by RADs. Has anyone told you your ribs/bones are brittle?

I need to know if I will end up with crumbling ribs!


Hi Moonwolf

I posted this topic back in Jan when I was experiencing the pain in my ribs. It went after approx 2 weeks and hasn’t returned! I was told it was ‘fibrosis’ and understood it to be damage done to the cartilidge in the ribs rather than the bones itself. As for deciding to do rads or not - simple - do them! Anything to combat the cancer in my eyes must be done. I would rather rads have killed off the cells and have a sore area of ribs now and then to the unthinkable.
I hope this helps