wedding ring problem - help ex-chemos please

I finished chemo mid-March, and my (chemo side) hand seems to be permanently swollen. I cannot wear my wedding ring…thinking about getting it stretched, but does anybody know if this swelling will improve? Sorry if this sounds petty, but I know it makes him sad that I dont wear it anymore, after all these years.

Thanks for any advice, Zoe

Hi Zoe,

Well done for getting to the end of chemo!

Have you spoken to your breast care nurse? They can be very helpful in these matters, as they can advise re exercise and how not to put too much strain on the affected arm.

I was worried about not being able to wear mine, as I only got it last August, but so far all is well. I haven’t really had any swelling with the arm or hand (finished Chemo in December and radio end of Mar)

Thanks Elizabeth, perhaps I’m blaming the chemotherapy instead of extra padding resulting from lots of eating and little excercise !!! Zoe

I had puffy hands and feet on Taxotere, so didn’t wear my wedding rings (I’ve had node clearance on the left). I had to get a jeweller to alter my rings for me.

Hi Zoe,
I know what you mean, it’s difficult not to treat yourself to ‘goodies’ whilst going through all this. There are times when you just have to give yourself a treat.

I don’t know about you, but during chemo, I developed a really sweet tooth, something I didn’t have before. Thankfully, it’s disappeared now and my savoury tooth has returned.

It may well still be worth talking to the breast care nurse for ressurance, if nothing else. Perhaps you could wear your wedding ring on a chain, until normality resumes?



I can’t wear my wedding or engagement rings either! Very upset about it. Finished chemo end of November. They fit, but are a bit tight but my skin gets so sore within a few hours I have to take them off! Then it takes about 5 days for the skin to heal.

I presumed that this was because my skin was sensitive following chemo so was hoping to try again in couple of months. Hate not being able to wear them.

Anyone else had this?


Yes, exactly the same as you Hannah - even down to finishing chemo in November!. It’s depressing as i haven’t been able to wear my rings since last summer. I am just starting to be able to wear my wedding ring for half a day, as long as I then have a few days off, so I can wear it to go ‘out’.
I don’t know if it’s worth getting it enlarged - don’t want to if I’ll only have to have it shrunk again later.
Any advice from ladies further down the line?

It is quite weird - I am 18 months post chemo and my fingers still swell up. At times wedding ring is realy tight - today is not too bad, though I struggle to get it off. I have thought of getting it enlarged, and maybe I should, but I keep thinking I will get back to ‘normal’ - ha!

Hi Ladies
Jacquie & Hannah I too finished Chemo in November and started in March having problems with wedding and engagement rings, my finger seems to blister and become very sore and takes days to recover, i thought it was the washing up liquid but wear gloves now for all cleaning and problem still there, what type of chemo did you have?

Hi Zoe - It’s not a petty thing at all, and can be very distressing when you can’t wear your wedding ring. I came across this quite a lot when I was working with ladies’ with lymphoedema. Sometimes they left it too late taking their rings off, and then couldn’t, resulting in them having to have them cut off, which of course was even more upsetting. Quite often they would have rings made larger so that they could wear them comfortably, or others bought a new ring to wear (even if only until the swelling goes down). Either way what seemed to help was making the “placing on the finger” something really special - combine with romance, promises for the future, hopes and dreams and renewal of commitment - I am sure you could even get the ring blessed if you wanted to. Good luck, whatever you decide. Sarah xx

Thanks everybody, it seemed petty to moan about it, but glad I did ask now. I think I will get it enlarged, but maybe will always be tender. Thanks Sarah - as usual you find the sweetest things to say! If my arms were 10,000 miles long they would be giving you a big squeeze.
That ring, one of those things you never notice until its gone. 35 years of wearing…

Rachie, I was on Taxol.
Hmmmm a new ring - now there’s something I hadn’t thought of! I do love my wedding and engagement rings, but a temporary larger one isn’t such a bad idea…

Aah - Thanks Zoe - if I stretch out and meet you half way we can party in Hong Kong! It’s my Son’s (17) half-term starting tomorrow, and as he is in the middle of AS levels, too far for him to come here, so my OH is doing just that and meeting in Hong Kong (we used to live there until he was six, so might bring back some memories, as well as great bonding!). Sadly for me I’m making the daily hospital trip for rads, so can only be there in spirit! Do let us know how you get on with your ring - and you Jacquie, and the other ladies. Good luck. Sarah


If your hand is swollen you may have lymphoedema. I have lymphoedema in my hand which I first noticed in between having chemo & rads. The back of my hand swells, and sometimes my fingers too. If you see your GP you could be referred to a specialist if that’s what it is. I had worn a ring on that hand (right hand) since I was 18, and was concerned that it would get stuck so I had it altered to fit one of the fingers on my left hand instead. I have to say that I was glad it didn’t affect my wedding ring etc. But with the right treatment my hand hardly swells at all now, so I think I could have kept my ring on my right hand after all.

Thanks roadrunner, I didnt realise I could have lymphoedema in the chemo arm as well as the surgery arm. Is that due to chemo damage? Zoe x

Zoe - You can only get lymphoedema in the surgery arm, ie on the side that has had lymph nodes removed. If you have swelling on the chemo side it is more likely a short term problem. Road Runner - guessing that the lymphoedema you describe is on your surgery side? Glad it is well under control now. Sarah x

Thanks again - met an ex-chemo lady two days ago who said she never could wear a ring again, it wasnt just because of swelling but because the skin under the (bigger) ring would rapidly get sore and weepy. I think on a chain for a while…
Went swimming today with kids, felt nearly back to normal, still no side effects of rads and only 3 to go.
Good luck girls xxx

Zoe - Great to hear from you. Fantastic news about the radiotherapy, we obviously all react so differently. I still have 21 to go and spent a lot of the weekend in pain and hardly able to move my right arm. So glad that you went swimming and are feeling good. Good luck with whatever you decide about the ring - and at the very end of the day, it is just a symbol for something very much more precious. Enjoy! xx

Yes my lymphoedema is on my surgery side, but my lymphoedema nurse told me that it is possible to get a type of lymphoedema that is due to chemo and is temporary (although will still last months). It is possible that this is what I have - only time will tell. I don’t know if you can get this on your chemo side or not.

Hi Zoe and all,
I finished chemo in Feb and had swelling in top of left arm it was very swollen, ( hand was ok but nurse said sometimes its the hand that gets swollen) they thought DVT ??? from chemo or something and I had scan and deep lymph scan and although they were both clear, I was then told its lymphoedema from chemo or IV antibiotics i had in Sep when I was neutropenic.

Any way I saw lymph nurse and got arm sleeve and wore all time and did exercises and now all fine, but have been told that it can return at any time so I must be careful. ( She had few people who had it from chemo) might be worth checking out swollen hand or just keep an eye on it, because I was quite swollen from my chemo for a few months. Steroids and Taxotere can cause swelling. I can just put my rings on now although dont keep on all the time as both hands seem to swell abit by the evening.

I have now had full lymph clearence and WLE and have to watch right side now to as could be more prone as have it in non surgery arm.
I have just got rid of a an uncomfortable seroma after having a op to clear it, 3rd op in ten weeks, now I think I have cording , horrible pain all up my arm… If its not one thing its another, but what ever I will beat this thing!!!
Going to hosp this afternoon for next check so hope I can then start on my 6 week course of rads very soon.
Would appreciate any tips fom your experiences
Take care all
Dawn X