73.3K members
1.2M posts
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

OnceWild
Member

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. 

soi
Member

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..

Andrea_Spillet
Member

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. 

trudy2010
Member

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

Loolyboo
Member

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
Egret
Member

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?
Anita
Member

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.

Charys
Community Champion

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.

Egret
Member

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.
Charys
Community Champion

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'.

Anne north
Member

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.  

SuzyEB
Member

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

trudy2010
Member

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

Dellashay
Member

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 .
annmarie2807
Member

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

Lesley brookshaw
Member

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 

angelcake
Member

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 

mufti
Member

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.

CathyI
Member

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.  

Shazza2010
Member

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 🙂

Sam_BCC
Member

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

midgemoo
Member

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?
dolphin1
Member

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

ChristineP
Member

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Buup bump bbump
for everyone who has similar questions january 2013

lolly73
Member

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

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

Guest user
Not applicable

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

Guest user
Not applicable

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

cherub
Member

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.

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Yep, I'm in the rib-pain club too!! Wasn't too bad shortly after radiotherapy but from a few months after it became a regular occurrence. I like the example someone gave of it being as if kicked by a horse. That's just right. I've described it like having being hit with a baseball bat. And its been on my whole rib cage too but not permanently luckilly. Sometimes its only on my bra line. Anyone worked out how to reduce the pain apart from paracetemol? Would rather use something more natural rather than yet more drugs.

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I'm part way through my rads & don't have any rib pain as yet, but thought the following would be worth posting.
I occasionally suffer from back pain & see a chiropracter about it. I last went a fews days before my op as I didn't want to be doing breast surgery & back pain at the same time. When I told my chiropracter about my diagnosis, he said that he wouldn't be able to treat me for some time (at least 18 months I think) after my radiotherapy becasue of the risk of damage to bones. A bit of a shame as my back is not good at the moment and I know he could sort it out in one session , but I'm having to manage it with ibuprofen.
I hope all your rib pains are fleeting
Phili x

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

I am about 5 weeks post rads now and the rib pain has eased up loads. I will still mention it to my onc when I see her later this week though.

Hope everyone else is feeling better too

judyw47
Member

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi Lolly and all rads side effect ladies.........

Keep getting lost on these threads...put my update on a different one duh!

My consultant told me the painful ribs are definitely a side effect from rads. The swelling, lumpiness and redness of the breast is to do with trapped fluid. Was told that we react in different ways to the treatment....hence some ladies having these problems and some getting bad burns. I did have 30 treatments. Was advised to try going bra less as often as I could and that does seem to help although not practical all the time.

They have asked me to go back on 1 June (8 weeks after I last went) and have always said any real worries to contact them sooner. At least they are keeping an eye on it.

Best wishes to you all from Judy x

lolly73
Member

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi all

Just wondering how everyones rib pain is?

Judyw - what did your consultant say?

Im finding that my on/off rib pain is now around the side as well as the front, which makes it harder to lye on that side. BCN says normal part of rads but will check with onc in June.

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Oh my god...am I happy I found you ladies!

I have been beside myself for the last couple of days with the tenderness on my mx side around the rib cage. I seem to be suffering with really tender skin more than pain...I feel like I have been kicked by a horse!

Finished rads 2 weeks ago today and am hoping this this is the cause of the discomfort - my mind has been going mad as I'm sure you will understand. Had a bone scan and CT scan October last year which were all fine but still can't help worrying.

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi Lolly,

Yep painful ribs here too, finished rads early Jan and my discomfort is all over but can change from day to day. I have found my very last ribs around my back to be the worst at times and I was not even zapped there! Also like Judy I cannot sleep that side just too uncomfortable. Does this last forever?

Best wishes

Gilly x

judyw47
Member

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi Lolly

Another rib pain sufferer with swelling and hardness still too. I see my consultant next Friday and will be bringing all my worries up then. I finished my rads last August and the pain seems to be worsening. I can no longer sleep on that side.

Would be great to hear from someone who has found it does go away eventually 🙂

Judy x

hezb
Member

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi there, I also have struggled with painful ribs and was told that it is down to the rads.I still suffer now and its 18 months since i finished the treatment but i have had 2 reconstruction ops in the past 6 months so im putting it down to that now!
I read somewhere that the radiation can make the ribs brittle and can cause long term damage. I do always think that these things do need checking out though if not to put your mind to rest.
Take care Helenxx

Guest user
Not applicable

Re: Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi Lolly

Its strange to see your post as I have had quite painful, bruised ribs which really hurt when I lay on my side, for the past couple of days - and it is 2 years since finishing rads!! Still hurts a bit today but not half as much. I havent done anything which could have caused this out of the blue - havnt coughed for example - so have no explanation but like you I have seen topics on rib pain here but didnt think I could have it so long afterwards?

Love Laine

lolly73
Member

Rib Pain from Radiotherapy?

Hi

I had 4 wks of rads a year ago, and for a few months I have been getting a bruised pain on the rib where my bra sits. My bcn said that its normal and its an after effect of the rads. The pain tends to come and go. The last couple of days I have had ALL the ribs on that side feeling bruised and sore to touch. The very bottom rib seem too low to have been zapped with rads? I know there have been some topics on rib pain, but has anyone had/got where ALL the ribs on the rads side feel bruised?

Thanks in advance
Lolly