Swollen breast - how to prevent oedema


I have been prescribed 3 weeks of radiotherapy with integrated boost to the tumour site (due to lumpectomy margins really small < 1mm). After the 1st RT session, the treated breast has started swelling and feels like it continued to do so a little more with every session. As I’m only half-way through the treatment I have two concerns:

  1. They told me that if it keeps increasing in size they will need to do re-planning as the dosage may become inaccurate. I’d rather not have to do this for longer than I need to.
  2. I read on this forum about ladies still having significant swelling (and hardening) of the breast even months / years after RT is finished

So, I’m wondering what could be done to bring it down to ensure treatment continues as initially planned and particularly that I minimise long-term side-effects. Any suggestions? Cold compress or is that completely naïve?


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Hi there. My breast and arm pit also got a little swollen…but it didn’t keep on swelling so hopefully yours will be the same. It is 5 weeks tomorrow since I finished and still swollen but someone recommended wearing a supportive bra once skin has calmed down which I have just started doing. Also a bamboo flannel next to skin helps stop any rubbing. Aloe vera cools everything down. Hopefully others may have good suggestions too. I could do with them as well :grin: xxx

My boob started swelling as soon as I got off the table after my first session!
It got a bit worse after a few sessions but gradually started to calm down. I’ve finished my 2 weeks now and it’s not too bad.
I find a satin pillowcase to be soothing. I put it on me when I lay down in bed. Or satin clothes inside out. I was told to air it as much as possible. Cold compress yes, but not wet or freezing. I popped my satin pillow case in the fridge for a bit.
I’ve been using medihoney and aveeno.
I hope this helps!

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