Swollen firm breast 5 months after radiotherapy

Hello All. 

I’m really hoping someone will be able to ease my concerns. 

I had my op in Jan 22 followed by radiotherapy in March 22. I was left with a seroma in my armpit which the BC nurse said is best to leave to naturally absorb back into my body which could take up to a year. Its annoying and unsightly but I can live with it.

What’s concerning me is two days ago I noticed my breast has swollen and feels firm where the surgery was done. My breast is pinker thsn the other one too. I feel absolutely fine in myself. Just worried. 

Anybody else had this issue? 

My breast was swollen and firm for about 2 years after surgery, with generalised lymph collection in the whole breast which put me up 2 cup sizes in a bra on that side. In a specific area - the site of surgery and rads boosters it was ever changing for those few years, I started with a seroma there and did manual lymph drainage with exercises for many months. There was some swelling, scar tissue formed and things kinda evolved and shifted a bit and I would say thats it only now over 6 years later that everything feels stable The pink/red skin gradually changed to a brown and then took 2 or 3 years to go back to a normalish colour. I also noticed that the pain in the surgery area took years to resolve and every time it was hit or pressed it became more swollen and painful. Radiotherapy makes it much harder for the breast to clear lymph and you can develop lymphodaema.

So, basically, (I’m sorry I’ve read back my message above and it sounds a bit confusing) things can and do take a long time to resolve after the impact of surgery and radiotherapy, and there can be changes over months that are part of healing, but saying that if you have noticed a sudden change then it does need to be looked at. Could it be that its gradually been changing and you just noticed ? It is most likely something as simple as fluid build-up, scarring, fibrosis causing inflammation, infection or you’ve caused some inflammation - but thats what the BC nurses are there for - to take a quick look/feel and give some advice. I’m no medic, and I’m sorry I can’t tell you exactly what is causing the issues you have, but those people who do this day and in and day out for their skilled jobs will be able to :slightly_smiling_face: Somebody may come along who says ‘oh that happened to me 5 months after surgery/rads, and it was a sudden seroma after trauma’, but that may not be exactly the same as your own problem. 

I entirely understand why you are feeling very worried, it is totally understandable and anybody just after active treatment for BC would be feeling the same way, but honestly the best thing to do will be to give them a quick call, and put the matter to rest. 

Do let us know how you get on. x

I had this too. I left it, which was because I thought these things settle down. After almost 6x months I have been in touch with the breast nurse and she got me in to see the consultant, who referred me to the lymphoedema service at the hospital. Mine is in the community, but had I gone when it started I would have been seen by oncology lymphoedema.

Mine is: swollen breast in the lower half, firm areas which consultant said is fibrosis, I have a  pink colour to my breast (that had a long name which I cant remember) and it is warmer than the other breast. No swelling in the arm, but side of my breast only in the lower area where the incision was made is swollen.

I am having some support as given self-massage exercises and will be having a session on taping the breast in a few weeks. The specialist told me I did have an infection and it has cleared up, but not helped by not seeing a medic and getting antibiotics and the nurse at the clinic said I had had cellulitis which I am not convinced.

Not saying this is same for you, but I did think it was just as it is, it turned out it isn’t. So my best advice is call the breast clinic, ask them. Or see GP on a quick appointment rather than wait weeks, your call if you think a GP will know about BC and later issues.

All the best and I will keep an eye out for updates x

I was told initially it would disappear like magic. They downplay everything at JC. But I went to a dif5erent hospital & they were truthful and said over a year. I couldn’t bear it and call it a budgie egg.

They can drain it but in reality there’s a whole swollen area. Under the armpit. It prevents my arm moving freely. 

I got out the document you sign B4 surgery in scrawl consultant writing 5 mins pre op. Every side effect I now have some for life. Lymphodema for one they have even ordered a special long bra vest thing.  Too smooth the excess fluid at the back and in my neck area. 

The material apparently smooths the bumpy and side area where lymph nodes were taken.

I had no cancer in any of them, but so many life changing side effects 

Surgeon did a 3 in 1 op.

Lymph nodes 


Only T2 

look at the savings for NHS & hospital 

No radiography 4 breast amputation 

But ribs stick out 

Nerve damage can’t feel anything in shoulder area. Can’t move my right arm or lift it on rehabilitation physio and lymphodema sessions. 

Oh and lymph node removal causes stomach swelling too. 

Even without food it looks like I’ve given birth to a shepherds pie. 

Even after fasting