Posted on: Jan 10, 2008 04:33AM, edited Aug 30, 2009 06:55PM by Erica35
Looks like I'm special as I'm one of the <2% of patients who get this complication. Really tired of being special...
I don't want to scare anyone off of radiation....it's an important part of breast cancer treatment. There are risk factors for my complication such as supraclavicular and axillary radiation, high rads dose, young age, and concurrent chemo. If you have had paresthesias (burning, tingling, etc), numbness, swelling, or weakness in your radiated side could you respond to this? Since it is so rare, there is not much literature for me to go on about my prognosis. Looking for someone else with experience. I think it might be related to my having avastin after radiation.
Any of you other gals in the avastin treatment after radiation have any problems with arm pain, hand paresthesias, hand or arm weakness?
I'm really struggling through this freaking marathon, after having surgery, 4 months dd chemo, more surgery, radiation, 5 months avastin/xeloda continously since July 2006 I am now facing multiple complications. First I had a lung injury from the interaction of avastin with radiation which left me breathless and unable to exercise for a few months (started beginning of October, now resolved). Then I had this arm problem which started the end of October with burning in my hand and has now progressed so that I can't button things or open jars or cans or do anything that requires fine motor skills. Also my fingers are numb along with the constant burning and I have arm pain that feels like a vice. Apparently, there is no treatment for radiation-induced brachial plexopathy so this is a new disability that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. Searching for the energy to meet this new challenge....
Posts 571 - 576 (576 total)
Jan 30, 2014 03:49PM Binney4 wrote:
barb, a knowledgeable therapist can be a great help in helping to maintain strength and range of motion for as long as possible. A good LE therapist also needs to be involved, as a dependent or painful arm needs extra help to keep the fluid moving. And an occupational therapist can help with adjustment to specific activities of daily living when one arm is disabled.
The real trick is getting your insurance to see it that way, since they want to see progress toward a "cure" in order to continue to fund it. So that part might take some appeals in order to get what you need.
Feb 2, 2014 08:23PM Dorian wrote:
Barb, Yes, chemotherapy can cause shoulder pain. I am currently receiving chemotherapy for a BC recurrence and was recently diagnosed with brachial plexopathy. They think it is the result of inflammation caused by my chemo drugs (Gemzar/carboplatin) rather than the radiation I had in 2001 because I only have pain for a couple of days after I have chemo. My radiation oncologist says that if the BP was caused by radiation, the pain probably would be continuous rather than sporadic. We'll see what happens when the chemo ends.
Mar 3, 2014 08:32PM lionessdoe wrote:
Radiation therapy to the chest, neck or axillary region for the underlying tumor may result in brachial plexopathy. Factors like radiation dose, technique and concomitant chemotherapy play a vital role in the brachial plexus injury. Radiation dose < 6000 cGy less likely leads to plexopathy. The interval from the last dose of radiation to the first symptom of plexus disorder is usually a mean of 6 years. Breast carcinoma is most commonly associated with radiation plexopathy (40-75%), which is followed by lung carcinoma and lymphoma.
Limb paresthesia, swelling, and motor weakness are common presenting complaints. Pain is not a consistent feature of such plexopathies. Unlike metastatic injury, radiation-induced plexopathy has a predilection for the upper trunk and not for the lower trunk, probably secondary to the protective effect of the clavicle and relatively shorter course of the lower trunk through the radiation port. Endoneural and perineural fibrosis, occlusion of microvasculature and direct injury to the myelin sheaths and axons are the proposed mechanisms for radiation-induced plexopathy. MRI may show thickening and diffuse enlargement of the brachial plexus without the focal mass, but does not always differentiate metastatic and radiation injuries. Radiation fibrosis in the chronic form appears as hypointense on T1WI and T2WI. Nerve conduction studies in the early stages may show features of demyelinating conduction blocks. Unlike metastatic plexopathy, EMG studies in radiation injury show spontaneous activity in the form of myokymic discharges.
It has dismal prognosis, with the patient requiring palliative care depending on the distressing symptoms. Lymphatic bypass surgery to relieve lymphedema may rarely be required. The patient is advised to continue rehabilitative measures.
DoeDx 9/5/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 4/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-