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Topic: itching after bilateral mastectomy?

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Dec 9, 2008 07:57PM

eugenie wrote:

I am so bothered by this that I finally have to post this and get some feedback!!!!  I had my bilateral skin sparing (AND nipple sparing on the non-cancer side) in March '08 in NYC with Dr. Allen.  He took fat from my inner thighs and I am very happy with how the scars are healing/looking.  Both on my boobs and my upper thighs (basically close to my crotch so I still wear a two piece, just must have a skirt on the bottom!).  But my boobs itch terribly!!  And it is strange but it only seems to bother me at night.  I imagine this is the healing inside but I can't stand it.  Dermatologist gave me cortisone cream but it is not that effective.  Wanted to put this out there to see if anyone else has had this?

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Dec 9, 2008 08:14PM Deirdre1 wrote:

I didn't have this experience, but if I had (and for this long) I would touch base with the ps, just in case there is an infection somewhere that would be better addressed earlier than later..  and I did have the groin graft too.  Itching usually does indicate healing but not always and for for it to have gone on like this since March well I'd check with the doc.  Nothing to loose right?  (except I hope the iching Laughing  Itching is a horrible thing if you can't get relief!!!  Good Luck!
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Dec 9, 2008 10:01PM Scrappygrl wrote:

I put baby powder over my itchiest area and just rubbed it in lightly.  Of course my area was between where the breasts used to be so it wasnt like I really put it on the area that was healing but it did help tremendously with the itching. But I too recommend talking to your surgeon about it. 

I was also told to use neosporin with pain relief...that might help with itchiness as well.  I am just now starting to use the neosporin since stitches came out yesterday.  Just to help heal better.  Good luck. Amira

When one door closes another one opens!

Dx 9/28/2008, DCIS, 3cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 2/10/2012, Stage IV, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 10, 2008 07:30AM JustTurnedForty wrote:

I have itching mostly in the places where there is no feeling, so scratching doesn't even relieve it.  It is so annoying!  I had lat flap recon, so there are areas on my back that itch like that, too.  It has been 1 1/2 years since surgery, and the itching has let up considerably.  My husband used to scratch my back with his short, stubbly beard, and that worked great!

Janine, who is now 43

Dx 1/15/2007, DCIS, Stage 0, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Dec 10, 2008 01:24PM Beesie wrote:

This topic comes up every few months on this board. It might be itching from the healing of the scar but what's more likely is that it's phantom itching.  This is actually quite common, although rarely discussed.  I've had it too.  I'm 3 years out now, so I get it less frequently (thank goodness!) but it still happens, even now.   In my case the itching feels like it's deep inside my breast and of course, there's nothing in there except an implant.  So there is no way to relieve the itch, scratching doesn't help.  Mine happened mostly at night too and some nights it just drove me nuts. Cortisone cream never helped but I did get some relief from the anti-itch spray gels that contain camphor.  Aveeno have one and I know there are others brands too. They are cooling and I think that's what helped.  While the itch is a real feeling, it doesn't have a physical cause - I think the camphor worked (a bit) by replacing the itchy feeling with a cooling feeling.

Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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Dec 10, 2008 02:36PM Deirdre1 wrote:

Beesie, I had this too but only for about 6 months and it wasn't a constant thing even at night.  Is there a way to destinquish the "phanton itch" from a real biological process - something agrivating the internal skin?  It seems to me that if it is a true phanton process then nothing except nerve meds would relieve it?  It is a crazy making thing to try to itch the inside of the breast though.. I use to put cold compresses on and that seemed to help too.  I wonder why the phanton process is not spoken about much when it comes to the breasts?  Any ideas? Best

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Dec 16, 2008 05:58AM eugenie wrote:

Thanks for all the info!  As always, all of this is better than having to deal with cancer!  I try the compresses and will also contact Dr. Allen's office (finally) to see what they have to say!

Dx 8/1/2007, IDC, <1cm, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 12, 2013 12:23PM LSU wrote:

I had a bilateral mastectomy 8-15-2012. Chemotherapy started 9-10-2012 and I was told to cut out all caffeine. I never was a big caffeine user, but did enjoy a cup of coffee most mornings. I do not drink any other caffeinated drinks on a regular basis. During chemo and after I drank organic decaffeinated tea and herbal teas. I have been finished with chemo since December, but had not gotten back to my cup of coffee. Here and there I kept reading that a cup of coffee a day might stave off Alsheimers. Last week I decided to have that cup of coffee. That afternoon I was riddled with itching in my left (x-cancerous) x-breast area and under my arm. It was so bad that I tore the skin in numerous places trying to relieve the itch. The whole area is numb and the itching is deep inside untouched by fingernails, slapping, rubbing or punching. I tried cold compresses to no avail. I took 4 (.5 mg)Ativan over a period of a few hours with no relief. I had never taken that many before for any reason and rarely take them unless I can not sleep.  I added a heating pad on hot and that relieved the itching somewhat. I searched online and found that some others had this itching and associated it with caffeine intake. I did not have a second cup of coffee the next morning and I have not had any more itching. This happened a week ago and the area has scabbed over. Has anyone else had this reaction? What do doctors think about it? Why does it happen? I am terrified that I will be traveling and be stricken with it again.

Dx 7/5/2012, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER-/PR-Dx 7/20/2012, IDC, 4cm, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+Dx 8/23/2012, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+Surgery 08/15/2012 Mastectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Surgery 08/15/2012 Mastectomy (Right)Chemotherapy 09/10/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereChemotherapy 09/10/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 09/10/2012 Herceptin