Tender Ribs



I have checked out other posts regarding rib pain following radiotherapy, as I have been experiencing rib tenderness more so now than when I finished a month of radiotherapy back in February.  I finished a year of Herceptin exactly a month ago and had FEC-T chemotherapy previously.  I have been taking Tamoxifen since last December after a lumpectomy and another op to get clear margins.  I didn’t seem to have this when I initially finished the rads.  The aching does seem to respond to painkillers and Ibuprofen gel.  Just seeking further advice/reassurance.


Thank you.



Hi Louise


I’m so glad you posted this as I am 4 months post radiotherapy and have had an almost identical treatment to yourself so far, and now have several tender areas on my ribs, both front under boob and back but in the same place. Like you I didn’t notice this during or immediately after rads, it seems to have crept up on me and is slightly worrying. I had a cough immediately after rads finished although that got a little better but is also now back again, my head is awash with bad thoughts at present! Mine doesn’t require pain relief and just recently I have noticed itching so do wonder if it is radiotherapy damage 


Hope someone else has an answer!

Hello all of us “tender ribbers”.


I had my treatment 5 years ago last April and reconstruction almost 3 years ago and am on Tamoxifen for 10 years.  I also suffer from rib/ scar tissue pain on my lumpectomy/rads side.  It is worth talking to your breast nurse about. 


When it first started to hurt, a couple of years ago, I of course imagined the worst - like you do - and the clinic took it very seriously and I was sent for a bone scan just to check that all was well. Luckily it was!  It seems to be being caused by nerve damage and scar tissue - the nerves try to knit together and it can cause problems for months or even years after our major surgery.  Not everyone gets it but some do.


Anyway, the first step is to contact your BCN and get it checked, then you can move forward from there.  

Sending hugs to everyone “Moving Forward.” xxx

I would love some help and advice on this too.

I have been experiencing rib pain for the last fews and radiotherapy finished in November. I have an appointment to see the breast care team but it’s not for another 3 weeks. The pain has just been getting worse. Paracetamol and ibuprofen don’t work. I am having to use codeine. Getting worried about it and not sure I can wait 3 weeks.

I have had rib pain, cramps & muscle spasms for years. My breast cancer was found in 2009. Finished radiation in 2010 & tamoxifen in 2015. I reapeatedly complained to doctors about this pain. None seemed concerned. 2 years ago a growth was seen in my lungs. The growth is not cancer. After pet scan & lung biopsy 2 more growths were found on my ribs which caused them to fracture. I am now in a wheelchair soon to be on oxygen. More growths have been found in my lungs. Diagnosed as radiation induced pulmonary fibrosis. All the growths are radiation induced. They do not reduce in size. There are some medications to slow the growths but the side effects don’t sound too pleasant. I urge you to request a CT scan with contrast.