WHAT signs and symptoms to look for?

After surgery & chemo I finished rads in Jan and will not be seen again until August. (and thereafter annually in August)
My affected breast has really felt and looked quite alien to me ever since lumpectomy & WLE in July 2008, so how am I supposed to self -detect anything abnormal if it occurs in the meantime ?

I am not a particularly anxious type of person but really wish I had an appointment to be seen again earlier than 7 months hence.
My onc. said that long appointment gaps were now the norm but it seems that people in other parts of the country and with other types of cancer are followed up much more frequently in the early days after treatment.
My prognosis was not good- and I would value a bit more contact at this stage- even if some study or other has shown that it doesn’t make any difference!

Hi topsymo,

I saw your post in the Trish thread that no one had answered you here. I think this is a reflection on the new style forums. You have to hunting for peoples posts in threads maybe you wouldnt normally look at. I do hope they will put up View new posts since last visit. It is perfectly possible within this software to do so!!

Back to your question though :). I have had breast cancer for many years now and each time it has come back I have been the one that has noticed changes. Yes, even in a breast that I still had even after chemo & rads I noticed changes. In a way you need to trust your own judgement a lot of the time and if you notice anything odd, pain, different sensations, different feel then contact your breast clinic and ask them to see you. I know that some people have had things discovered on checkups that they were not aware of but I think that is more unsual. Any odd pains you have if they continue for more than a couple of weeks - again ask advice. I would always go to my breast clinic rather than my GP. I prefer to see bc ruled out first. We have a hard balance to find between being sensible and being paranoid!!


I had a very dense and hard breast after radiotherapy and was never sure what I could feel which I found very scary at times. Thankfully 2 years on the tissue has become soft again and is nearly back to normal, but I do get odd twinges in my ribs from time to time. At my review in December I was told this was normal. I now feel more confident about self examination again - prior to diagnosis I had practised self examination since my mid 20s, so no-one could have been more shocked to find a lump.

I have found the Cancer Research website useful for signs and symptoms. Their site explains the different types of cancer and tells you what to be aware of post treatment for them all. When I started my chemo I printed it off as I felt less anxious being able to refer to it from time to time.

Thank you for your comments- I do gather from what other people have written that it is likely to be me who will know if anything is ‘abnormal’ for me- rather than it being discovered at one of these rather infrequent check-ups.
I think I feel more concerned because my cancer was only detected by a routine mammogram- there was no lump or other sign or symptom at all & yet it was an aggressive one and my prognosis is not good. As I said , my breast & axilla now do feel very peculiar- maybe this is just something I have to get used to and eventually these alien lumps and bumps will feel less alien!