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Achey shoulder, collarbone and neck after mastectomy

3 REPLIES 3
landgirl
Member

Re: Achey shoulder, collarbone and neck after mastectomy

Thank you Blackcat182, that’s really reassuring. I like your description of the gift of radiotherapy! Things have eased today, but the gentle exercises need to be done every few hours to aid this! 

Blackcat182
Member

Re: Achey shoulder, collarbone and neck after mastectomy

Hi landgirl, I just wanted to drop in and say I have experience similar aches and pains following my treatment. Chemo finished March 2020, lumpectomy and 4 nodes removed April 2020 and then radiotherapy in June. In late August 2020 I started to get a very sore achey left shoulder and the area around my collar bone was tender to touch, kind of like a bruised feeling. I would also get a strange feeling in my neck and throat from time to time. I had an X-ray and ruled out anything bad and was told that it’s probably damage to the tissue caused by the radiation (fibrosis).

My shoulder is now much better but my breast and collar bone area can still feel tender, but I’ve just learned to live with it. Unfortunately radiotherapy is the gift that keeps on giving.. I’ve heard of people having issues surface many years later. 
anyway just thought I’d share my experience. I hope you’re not in too much pain and things get better soon x

landgirl
Member

Re: Achey shoulder, collarbone and neck after mastectomy

Hi, Ive posted an update, just incase someone ever searches for this issue on the forum. I saw my GP today, and she examined me thoroughly, checking for any enlarged lymph glands, lumps, bumps and swellings in the neck, collarbone, upper chest wall and axillary area. She found nothing of concern, but commented that the changes and sensations / aches that I reported were normal and part of the healing process, and that I would continue to notice further changes for at least another year, maybe two years. She checked my shoulder and neck for movement and stretching (a key movement appears to be how far you can reach up your back).  She said that they (doctors) see a lot of shoulder, upper chest wall and shoulder blade concerns after mastectomy. I’d noticed that things had improved in the past day or so by doing more of those exercises that we are told to do. However, she gave me some further advice on that too. Exercise is key it would seem. 

landgirl
Member

Achey shoulder, collarbone and neck after mastectomy

Hi all, after 18 weeks of chemotherapy. I had a mastectomy on 24 June with axillary clearance. Before starting three weeks of radiotherapy, I had a CT scan (presumably of whole body or perhaps the torso - I was terrified so didn't ask many questions). They saw a tiny collection of blood vessels on the spine, so I had to have an MRI.  Radiotherapy to the chest wall, axillary and collarbone area finished 14 September. Two days after, I had a bone scan (which took ages) and this was clear of metastasis.

Shortly after radiotherapy, in September. I developed lymphodoema in chest wall, axillary area, and the flank round the back of the armpit. It goes up and down, but the tightness in the armpit and across the chest wall can be very noticeable. Stupidly, and for about a week I stopped doing the exercises regularly.
Just before Christmas, I noticed a mild ache in collarbone area. Not everyday, and not when resting or asleep. This became diffuse, my shoulder aches, back of shoulder, back of neck, sometimes top of arm. It comes and goes, disappears on exercise and resting on the bed. But some days it can be a drag. It's a bit like the discomfort I used to get when I had a bag on my shoulder for too long - but I can't use that shoulder now.

Has anyone else experienced this? Whist it seems to be getting less bothersome since upping the exercises, I'm terrified that it's mets or a recurrence, especially as a small area between just along from my neck and between my collar bone seems a little bit puffy compared to the other side. However, my chest wall and armpit has been puffy for months. 
Ive contacted my doctor for an appointment, but wonder if this is something to expect after surgery / radio, etc. 
thank you!!