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Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I happened upon this site today and I'm so glad I did!!  I've secretly been a little worried because I too have been having sore ribs. I thought it was in my breast at first, then realized it's under my breast, on the ribs.  But they only hurt when I feel around, or when I try to sleep on my left side. (I also will only wear very comfy bras!)

 

I had a lumpectomy on left side in November 2016, followed by 16 rounds of radiation at the end of December 2016 and into January 2017. The lumpectomy was a breeze compared to the "burn" after radiation.  OMG! It was awful!  But I healed up nicely, have had really good range of motion, but had pretty bad fatigue. But that's so much better too. Then started getting the sore ribs.  So now I can see that it's to be expected and I can totally can handle that.  I don't go for my first mammogram until July, but I'm not worried anymore! 

 

Thank you everyone!!

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I have only just discovered this site today as I was searching for answers for my rib pain which has moved from the front to under my arm. (Still tender under breast)

I had a lumpectomy in 2002 on my left side and radiation. I have been very blessed with no problems, bar sensitivity the my breast and tenderness under my breast on the rib.

Last year I started to get like a dull pain through my left breast from the sternum across to the left.

Every year I return to RPA hospital for my mammogram and/or ultrasound. I mentioned this to the doctor, and for reassurance she sent me for a bone scan. Turned out all good!

From last week my ribs under my arm is very tender to touch and a pain which is pulse like happens on and off during the day, it does worry me why it is happening, but after reading all your comments I realise this is what is going to happen to us. I didn't think after 15 years it would become more intense. 

Has anyone had this experience after 15 years on.

 

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

It seems very common Michelle sometimes it was very painful I started to feel it before I went for my first mammogram in March this year and they said it was due to the radiotherapy as it can cause a bit of inflammation but it's not to bad now thank goodness I just took some ibuprofen which did take the edge of it x
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Kaitlyn,
I too had a lumpectomy on my right breast in June 2016, radiation (20) in Aug 2016. Have recently been experiencing rib tenderness underneath my armpit and sometimes underneath by breast. I go for a mammogram on Tuesday and was going to mention it to my doctor. Looks like it's non uncommon!
Michele
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi kaylnf I feel your pain it can be really painful although it seems to be easing a bit now , I was told it was imflammation from rads, I finished mine in October 16 x
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I had a lumpectomy in June 2016 and radiation in Aug 2016 on my right breast. About a month ago (March 2017) I started having a lot of pain behind my right shoulder blade and on my frontside right under my right breast in the rib area. I was worried my Chiropractor may have fractured a rib during an adjustment. The pain was so bad that it hurt to laugh, sneeze, cough or breathe in deep. I finally went to urgent care and they took chest/rib X-rays. The doctor said she did not see any fractures. She said I probably just have inflammation and scarring in tissues around ribs due to radiation. She gave me a dose of Toradol (strong NSAID) in my backside and that took the edge off the pain. So, I guess it truly was inflammation. Now, that I am reading all these comments, I see I am not alone and this seems like a common side effect of the radiation.
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I understand your pain katelynne it can be really painful at times I find it painful if I turn certain ways to quickly, I ve been advised it's from the radiotherapy and was told to take some ibuprofen as pain is inflammation hope this helps and let's you know your not alone lots of us have it to xx
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I had a bilateral lumpectomy and a partial mastectomy. I understand rib pain. Sometimes it takes my breath away. I'm not sure if the pain was caused from the operations or most likely the radiation treatment. But it often makes it difficult for me to exercise.

katlynne

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

That's good news heatherc , pain in ribs can be really sore at times I find it's worse when I'm in bed and when I turn round it's not so bad when I'm up moving about and I find ibuprofen takes the edge of it
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I have rib pain too, it seems to move around. I thought it was from my Bronchiectasis (lung disease) but now I think it's probably the rads. Mine were last August, I got the all clear today thank goodness!
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I'm also taking centrum multivitamin and osteocare for the calcium magnesium and vitamin d as told to by gp 😊
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Yeah and mine was on my left side so I did the deep breath inhalation for the radiotherapy
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Ah, so that makes sense, we were both 'near the ribs' for rt and boosters.

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi mine was right underneath just where your ribs are every pain I get I was worried about but feel a bit more at ease since having my mammogram , its bad enough going through everything without the side effects, I have a bit of peripheral neuropathy in my finger tips but it's not to nab and oncologist says it will eventually go but prescribed me amitriptyline and that has helped
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I know exactly what you mean, I can touch and press certain very specific parts of the boney area and it just really hurts. Mine was very high up, literally at the top of the area that is breast tissue, so lumpectomy was done practically on muscles and ribs. Where was yours ?

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I to had lumpectomy chemo and radiotherapy all finished on October 16 egret, and it seems to be immflamation on ribs from radiotherapy, I started taking some ibuprofen which takes the edge of it
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Thankyou charys, I must have read the letter ten times just to make sure then cried with relief, just this rib pain although ibuprofen seems to take the edge of it thanks again 😊
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Great news Lane, your first after treatment? 

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Rib pain is really painful at times , but got good news today results from my mammogram all good so happy
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Lori Jane,

         I hope your rib pains have settled by now. I'm not sure if a CT scan would cause further pains but the scans do use high levels of radiation so it may have produced further inflammation in you. I've never had a CT scan.

Regarding painkillers I just take paracetamol and ibuprofen every so often, dont need them much as I'm not sore unless my ribs are pressed directly and I've found some larger size bras which i can wear quite comfortably now at work for a 12-hour shift, ;  with smaller sized bras I ached so much around my chest after work that it hurt to breathe.

 

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

It's good to know we are not alone,I finished rads in October last year and at times my left breast is painful and ribs it is very worrying which I suppose is understandable considering what we all have gone through.

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi I finished radiarion therapy in Oct. 2016. Four weeks ago I had a ct scan done of my abdomen and chest for another health issue. However, since the scan I have had rib pain and acheing. I had breast cancer on my left side, but after finishing all my treatment I felt pretty good. Could this ct scan have re-irritated the tissue on my left side now causing rib and bone pain....thanks. What are people useing for pain relief?

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Thanks for the posts on this thread. I had an MX last June and had radiotherapy before Christmas. Have had rib pain for a long time and had X-rays a while ago, thankfully all clear. The rib pain has recently been worse but Drs I saw for follow ups in both radiotherapy and breast surgeon weren't worried. It seems to have calmed down a bit now so I'm hoping all will be well. I seem to go from one ache to the next - my ANC arm is sore today so I'm panicking it's the start of lymphodema! How I long for my carefree days pre diagnosis. 

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I'm the same with rib pain. Had recurrence in 2015 after mastectomy in 2011  They had to go back in as lump was on the scarring. I've had lots of pain on my bone and ribs.  I find it my bra to tight it agribates it as there is no cushioning left..

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I had radiotherapy in Jan/Feb 2013 after lumpectomy and chemo. My breast and ribs have always been sore and painful and I understand just where you're coming from when you mentioned you're son accidentally hurting you. My grandchildren love to snuggle up on the sofa with me but often catch me with their bony little elbows as they wriggle to get comfortable! The pain is unbelievable! My oncologist and the doctors at the breast unit have told me repeatedly that if I still have pain, then I probably always will!! Wonderful! Still it's a small price to pay at the end of the day. 

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Anne North, your experience sounds very similar to mine. My lumpectomy was at the front of my left breast and it's left a huge crater. Yes, i was offered a fat transfer operation to fill it out, as they tell me the pain is because the chest wall is no longer cushioned. But I too, chickened out of any more surgery. I can live with the scarring and now the fact one nipple is higher than the other, that is the hardest to cope with especially in summer t-shirts, i can live with the discomfort, i can live with the awfully larger-than-they-should-be tattoos of black ink placed on me by a novice at radiotherapy planning, i can and will cope with it because without all this i would no longer be alive at this present time !!!!

 

xxxxxx

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi Egret

I had wle in Feb last year, followed by chemo & finished rads in Aug. I also have rib pain on the affected side - my oncologist who is very sympathetic, sent me for a bone scan to put mind mind at rest - thankfully it was clear, as he reassured me it would be.

He explained that radiotherapy causes inflammation to the covering of the ribs which causes the pain as it is repairing the damage - it can last for many many months.

Knowing I have the same aches/pains followed by a clear bone scan, I'm hoping this can lessen your worries 🙂

Loolyboo xxx
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi Charys and Anita,
Thank you for your posting. Since I found this thread and read that my experience was shared by others, my family said I was back to my old self - and a lot more positive. I didn't realise how much fear, not knowing and imagining the worse and isolation impacted on me. So thank you again. The rads were difficult to deliver, because the bc area was directly above the heart. I was warned that my lungs would be slightly scarred but apparently the heart is very tough. I held my breath (special device) to avoid damage to my heart. No one told me about the ribs.

With anastrozole I have been prescribed calcium tablets with vitamin D. My daughter suggested Epsom salt bath to get magnesium through the skin. Magnesium, she said, helps the absorption of calcium. Perhaps I should take glucosamine for the cartilage too?
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Thank you Charys for directing me to this thread. I had radiotherapy June/July last year & have since experienced rib pain especially after exercising. Like many have said I too have been worried that it was something more sinister as it seems to be getting worse not better. But at least we can reassure each other that it seems to be normal. I did ask the oncologist at my follow up in September & he said depending where the radiotherapy was directed, it can hit the ribs & in extreme cases cause breaks. The only suggestion he had was take painkillers which he would prescribe if I wanted, but I didn't really want to be on painkillers unless it became unbearable which for me it isn't most days. I also get pain at breast bone & collarbone occasionally as I had radiotherapy there, too. But it is worrying when you keep getting aches & pains that don't seem to be improving. At least we have this forum to be able to reassure each other.

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I'm not entirely sure what causes it Egret, but was wondering if it wasn't the ribs as such but the cartilage inbetween that had sustained some damage? I gather the rt can also make bones thinner and more brittle, which can be the cause of pain.

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I had a lumpectomy followed by 6 months chemo and 4 weeks radio (Oct 2015). I had ribs pain for sometimes but am too afraid to ask. It is now Jan 2017 and I have episodes of panic thinking the worse. Does anyone know why the ribs pain? What causes it? I keep changing bras, or not wearing them, but nothing works.
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I too am glad to find this thread! My surgery and rads boosters were high on my chest (In April last year), literally where my breast tissue and ribs meet. I have a fair amount of pain, and it has been worrying me (of course...the obvious.....has 'it' gone to my bones?! Pressing or touching areas below the collar bone hurt....almost like deep bruising.  I would also say that definitely the muscles that go across the top of the chest to the shoulder are also affected and hurt. So, I guess these are the 'long term' rt effects. I don't have anything helpful to add really, just wanted to say we are all 'not alone'.

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Trudy2010 - I was so reassured to read your post.  I had a lumpectomy followed by radiotherepy in June 2010, and this is a fairly new  on and off pain for me.  I too think sometimes its secondaries in my bones,  but doctors  have assured me it isnt. 

Last year I was supposed to go for Lipomodelling to take fat from my stomach  (yay)  to pump it into my small crevice in my left breast,  but also to cushion my ribs.

I actually chickened out of the operation as I was scared to go under the anesthetic,  and I can live witht eh indentation in my breast.....But I really should have gone,  to have the rib cushioning if nothing else. 

I am thinking of going back to my doctor to request it again if they will do it.  

Was this something that you was offered?  

Last night in bed I felt as if I had been kicked in the ribs,  and this morning the pain is dull but still there,  and my breast is sore. And my left arm feels very weak....and until reading posts below I had never connected the two things,  but it seems pretty normal,  even though its awful.  

Worst thing is,  I have a male boss,  and as much as I'd love to go home and relax.... I don't feel like I can ask to go home ,  cos he always wants to know why,  and I dont feel like explaining.  

Underwired bras are no longer in my underwear drawer!  

7 years on I would have hoped that I could try and forget that terrible Breast Cancer time in my life,  but it's always there to remind me one way or another.  

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

So pleased to find this thread. I'm 10 months post rads and the pain in my ribs is not improving. I find not wearing a bra helps as it's on the bra line. Unfortunately no bra doesn't help the seroma. I'm very thankful that it's not all the time, usually if I'm sitting but more often if I slouch. The rib line feels permanently bruised. I don't want to take any medication so any alternatives would be wonderful.   xx

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Rib pains ! My radiotherapy was in august 2011. I'm sure my boob is still shrinking gradually, and just wearing a bra hurts my ribs under my boob. Ive added 2 sizes bigger for my bra cos i cant stand the pressure of them anymore, and i dont wear one usually. I was convinced I was getting secondaries in my ribs cos this particular area is a new pain, but Ive just had a check up and nothing was felt. I didnt thank the BCN for pressing there though, it makes me feel sick. My poor hubby has learnt never to touch that side of me ! My teenage son (in jest) pushed me backwards the other week, his hand placed on the top of my left chest just below the collar bone. The instant pain floored me and I couldnt even catch my breath for a minute. I cant even lift heavy or bulky objects if they have to be supported against me as i carry them, it is just too tender.

 

And Dellashay, yes, wherever we go, take God with us, as He is before us in everything and has certainly walked this path with me.

 

xx

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hello, I have rib pain that just started. I finished my RD April 2016, I was worried until I started reading what everyone is saying ,sure made me feel better, I do see my oncologists on 1-27-17 just to make sure everything is ok, just like you should do for that lump you found, trust, I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, BUT GO NOW, AND TAKE GOD WITH YOU .
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

The rib pain and lumps seem to be normal after everything.  I had a bad fall afterwards too, broke my leg, tore things in my shoulder on the non breast cancer side and really hurtmy ribs on the breast cancer side.  Have not had xrays of the ribs but they were very painful for a few weeks.  Kept getting flareups of the rib pain and lots of swelling above and below the breast.

 I am 9 months post wide area exision and 5 months post radiotherapy and my breast just has a huge hard triangular lump of scar tissue that takes up whatever breast that is left.  am

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi

 

I had breast cancer 11 months ago. I had WLE and lymph node removal for invasive breast cancer. Since I finished radiotherapy end of November I have had rib pain. I mentioned to the oncologist who informed me that it was nothing to do with radiotherapy or surgery. I spoke to my breast consultant who informed me that 90 % of women present with rib pain. I am taking naproxen for pain relief.  I recently had a ct scan which included my ribs and the all clear was given so I know there is nothing untoward. I also have lumps in my right breast from surgery and have been informed that this is from surgery and radiotherapy and can take up to 12 months post radiotherapy for any improvements to be seen. I have been informed mine has gone slightly better but the chances of the lumps going is slim, but this is a small price to pay.

 

Just thought I would add my experience as I know reading other people's helps me 

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hey Everyone,

 

My rads treatment finished end of Feb and I am still suffering from the discomfort of WLE for DCIS. Unfortunately about three months after the rads finished, I fell on the stairs at work and aggravated my right arm and bruised it. This aggravated my breast area where the op was done and so I think my current pain and discomfort is due to this added action. 

My right breast is still lumpy and painful in parts and I just wonder whether this is normal? I had a open forum meeting which is given at my local hospital, once signed off active treatment and after rads finished and the BCN said that it is par for the course to be in relative discomfort for at least 18 months or more.  I often have pain in my back, rib area, right arm, underneath the breast area/top side of the ribs and at one point, I could not even rest on my right side in bed come nightime. It was so excruciatingly painful and too uncomfortable.

I am endeavouring to  monitor my body and feel for any abnormalities but with lumpy post operative tissue, it is difficult to know if the lumps felt are actually the lumps of the op alone.  

Just wanted to add my experience to the forum.

 

 

AC 

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi

Have just woken up this morning, again with pain across my ribs, and also tenderness in my breast and 'awareness' in my right arm and had a light-bulb moment. RADIOTHERAPY! POST BREAST CANCER!

I had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy last year. 

Of course, what I have read here all ties in. I didn't Google when I was diagnosed or receiving treatment and have been scared stupid for the last three weeks. I had a heart attack six years ago and thought, 'That's it, it's my heart.' 

I'm going to contact my post-op care nurse @ Barts on Monday but, in the meantime, thank you all for being here. The explanations I have read sound reassuring.

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi,

 

I just joined the group after searching the internet for rib pain after rads and I am 4 years out and started having rib pain.  I have it and it seems to have gotten worse from losing some weight too.  I started getting pain in my breast too, where the internal cutting took place.  He went in from the side to get the tumor out.  My arm and shoulder hurt too.  I'm afraid to check with my oncologist because I don't want them thinking it came back or anything like that....no fun at all.  

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi

I'm 6 yrs on from my op and rad. My rib pain comes in the form of a cramp. When I first got it i thought I was having a heart attack. My doctor assured me it was muscular pain and nothing to do with the heart but other than that, no-one has offered me an explanation. It eased a bit but now I've lost a bit of weight in that area it's back with a vengeance. I still have slight pain in my breast and a while back it was very painful, along with my arm and shoulder.  It turned out I had 2 oil cysts in my breast and they were dispersing (normal in scar tissue). The pain gradually got better, but always some discomfort. How are you doing now? I noticed your post is from 2013 but I've only just found this website 🙂

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi Midgemoo

Welcome to the forums, I’m sorry to read that you are having a rough time at the moment. I’m sure some of the other the users will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime maybe it would help to talk things through with a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 10.00 to 2.00.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi,
I too have very painful ribs & more recently a stabbing pain in boob on rad side, plus pins & needles and aches & pains in same arm. My treatment was 2 years ago & pain is worse now than just after treatment.
I went to see my BCN in Nov last year as i was concerned with pain and & she thought rib pain was down to rads & arm problems were post op trauma & nerve related & gave me excercises to do. I then saw my consultant this week & told him i was still suffering from a lot of pain & he thinks the rib & boob pain is still from the rad treatment?
Maybe it is rad damage causing the pain, but I find it difficult to believe that the pain is actually getting worse over time rather than better? That just doesn't seem right does it?
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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Just found thread. I had WLE and 16x rads 2009. No rib pain initially but now get a "kick" in ribs on affected side if twist or slouch on sofa. Not told anyone but am waiting for clinic appointment as have found another lump so will mention then. Hate waiting - no date yet

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Buup bump bbump
for everyone who has similar questions january 2013

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Ive not had any swelling, just a bruised pain that comes and goes.

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi,

I am 18 months after radiotherapy and I am now suffering severe rib pain and a large swelling below my ribs, pain is so bad I have been put on morphine by my gp. I am going to see my oncologist on Friday. I have been very worried but I am please to see other people also have pain.

Does anyone have a large swelling as well as the pain.

Alison

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi All,

It is so good to hear I am not the only one with rib pain. I have a large red swelling below my ribs in the middle with severe pain. I am currently on morphine for the pain but my GP has requested I see my oncologist who I am seeing on Friday.

Has anyone else had any swelling or just pain.

Alison

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Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I'm over 2 years on from rads now and still get the odd stabbing pain when I least expect it, usually in the bottom 2 ribs. I spoke to the Consultant at my last mammogram follow up in December and he said it might never go. I am also still pink on that side and sometimes feel I could do with my left bra cup being bigger than the right because when I take my bra off at night you can see where it has cut in.