Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

STINKY...B O...Lump side only,any thoughts??

Options

It's been almost a year after surgery and 9 months since rads and my lump side has a stinky sour-like underarm smell, not on the other side....Could it be from rads?..surgery??.......Does anyone else have a different odor on their surgery underarm side....I use Crystal and works great but not on my lump side...Any thoughts????

Comments

  • j414
    j414 Member Posts: 58
    edited September 2010
    Options

    I had the same problem and it was driving me crazy!  I don't usually sweat, but the sentinel node underarm would still have a strong stench of sweat within an hour or two after I showered.  The other underarm would have no odor at all.   Even when I would exercise (run, tennis) only the sentinel node armpit would smell. So, about two weeks ago I changed soap and antipersperant. Previously, I was using dove for both and now I use Whole Foods brand "Olive Aloe" Glycerin Soap and Tom's of Maine "Long Lasting" antiperspirant . This combo has worked really well for me, the odor is gone.

  • Bren-2007
    Bren-2007 Member Posts: 842
    edited September 2010
    Options

    I have the same problem and it's been 3 years since my rads treatment ended!

  • somanywomen
    somanywomen Member Posts: 82
    edited September 2010
    Options
    Thank goodness it's not just me!!!...j414, I will get the Toms and try some Olive Aloe...I'm like you, don't hardly sweat at all, but this odor is there whether I sweat or not!..Since all my body products are no chemical ones and I no longer wear perfumes, I really need to find out what will work...Wow BinVa, you mean it's going to stay this way??.....I think it does have something to do with the SN surgery area.....
  • 1WonderWoman
    1WonderWoman Member Posts: 1,796
    edited August 2013
    Options
    Etiquette warning!!  Read with caution ... OMG...I am sooo glad you brought this topic up!  All of my life, working out, lifting weights, teaching aerobics, running, blading etc... I NEVER had smelly BO!  I am on chemo right now and will probably start gagging while I type this but I have to talk!   My sister, on the other hand, always had that BO business and the like but never me.   All of the sudden, I start gross chemo and this morning, after I took a nice shower last night, I smell BO only under my good arm.  I had 18 nodes removed from what I consider the bad arm.  I cannot believe I SMELL!  I did not even workout last night....it is soooo disgusting.  There I go flying around with the Secret and powder, going crazy, checking myself while I was in Walmart to make sure *IT* has not come back.  This is so gross and all I could think this morning was I smell like my sister!!!!!!!!!!!  I mean can we BC girls get one little break!?  It kind of makes me wonder like why it took chemo...I mean were my hormones gummed up or were my ducts blocked?  Anyway, I concur and now bc is just like an American Express card only I CAN'T leave home without it!!!!!   Of course I have personal care kits in my cars and I am going to be swapping out all my deodorants.  Losing boobs and chemo is not enough...now I have to stink!!!!!  Smells and chemo go together so well also....gadzooks!  This is all I can say!
  • somanywomen
    somanywomen Member Posts: 82
    edited September 2010
    Options
    lizzymack1..You definitely deserve a break...I never had noticible BO (my opinion only) before...Now when I get dressed up to go somewhere, there it is, almost immediately!!!...It stinks!!!!..I carry around alcohol swabs but they don't even help....My mom has always wore so much crap that I can't hardly be around her, wayyyyyy to much perfume/hairspray or something, but now I don't know what's worse me or her!!!
  • Bren-2007
    Bren-2007 Member Posts: 842
    edited September 2010
    Options

    Somany ... I don't even use deodarant on my good arm.  It's not smelly at all.  But holy smokes, the bad arm is terrible.  Even my DH noticed it!  arghh!

    The numbness in my bad armpit finally went away after about 1 1/2 years, but I believe this smelly armpit is a permanent SE.  yikes!  I hate getting breast exams now cause I'm afraid the doc is going to gag!

    Bren

  • somanywomen
    somanywomen Member Posts: 82
    edited September 2010
    Options

    Bren, I still have a lot of pain on left side, esp, my arm...The surgeon also left a clump of surgical clips (about 8) in my surgery site (I wonder if they could be the smell cause)..I'm like you, I've done a lot of guessing and a lot of asking but I have never got a straight answer...While doing research this morning I ran across this info about pain after surgery...I posted it on another topic, but will post it here also..Info from....www.cancersupportcare.com/neuropathicpain....I am thinking now that my left side pain, esp, the arm pain may be more related to my surgery...Although my surgeon just passes off any such possibility that my pain is from "HIS" surgery.......Sorry if this is long..

    Post Breast Therapy Pain Syndrome (PBTPS) is an underreported condition believed to affect 10- 30% of women who have undergone surgical procedures for breast cancer. <font>1</font> While prior studies have looked at post mastectomy (PMPS) or post axillary dissection pain syndromes (PADS), recent articles have reported a more encompassing condition which we term PBSPS. PBSPS not only results from injury to nerves during surgery; it is now believed that radiation and chemotherapy play a role in aggravating the condition. <font>2</font> Because of its multivariate causes, PBSPS encompasses many different symptoms which can range from mild to debilitating in severity: chest and upper arm pain, numbness, edema, continuous aching and burning associated with chronic dysesthesia, allodynia (hypersensitivity to pain) and phantom breast tactile sensation/pain. The onset of symptoms can range from directly following breast surgery: mastectomy, axillary dissection, or other invasive procedure, to 6 months after. <font>3</font> Symptoms generally persist beyond the normal 3 month healing period.

    Quality of life issues surrounding women diagnosed with PBTPS have prompted us to look at this recently acknowledged condition. Forty percent of women diagnosed with PBSPS reported increased pain with movement, leading to arm restriction and frozen shoulder syndrome. <font>1</font> Over 50% of women experience pain during their daily chores, and over half reported sleep disturbances.

  • j414
    j414 Member Posts: 58
    edited September 2010
    Options

    I think the lymph node dissection causes the bad odor, although even after much much research I'm still not sure why.  But as i said above, I switched soaps and started using Tom's of Maine deodorant and the smell is gone. The main difference between regular deodorants and Tom's is that the regular have aluminium, which clogs the underarm pores and Tom's (and other natural deodorants) does not.  It's a theory, not sure if it's correct, but i would reccomend trying Tom's or another no aluminium, all natural deodorant.

  • 1WonderWoman
    1WonderWoman Member Posts: 1,796
    edited September 2010
    Options

    J414: I don't know...I have it ONLY in my good arm (the one where 18 nodes were not removed).  Oh, btw, even though I did not check back on this board, I am still pissed about this little SE!!!!!  Man, I cannot believe ...a life of activity and action, no BO, surgery and now BO without PROVOCATION!  I might be asked to leave the gym with my new found friend, odor, should this get worse when I workout! 

    Oh...and just some entertainment for you all:  I called a nurse to ask what to do to deal with the post-chemo, steroidal, chocolate-chasing, SE and I was told don't keep it in the house!!!!!!!!!!!!  Holy smokes!!!!!!!!!!!!  Did I really just hear that?!!!!!!!!!!!!  Almost $200K spent at this hospital and we can't come up with SOMETHING better than that?!!!!!!!!!!  Like maybe try FF pudding blah blah blah...no, just don't eat it!!!!!!!  yeah, you feel like a chocolate junkie on that steroid crash.

    Wow...the entire medical industrial complex has come so very, very far!!!!!

  • Lowrider54
    Lowrider54 Member Posts: 333
    edited September 2010
    Options

    It has been 11 years - the numbness left about 2 years post surgery and the freaky uncontrolled wet pit disappeared about the same time...the stinky persisted pretty heavy for another 6 months but only occassionally popped up until I no longer noticed a difference a little over a year post chemo.  It still smells slightly different than the good arm but not like the awful BO.  It does go away!  Hang in there!

  • somanywomen
    somanywomen Member Posts: 82
    edited September 2010
    Options

    I saw my GP today and he seems to think that the smell on left (surgery side only) is due to the lymphatic system that was disrupted..It makes sense that with the removal of 2 nodes that the remaining nodes are working overtime..It could be that with the slower removal of bacteria/waste is causing the extra smell....He said that the back-up could also be causing my arm/shoulder pain, possible slight lymphedema...I think I will try to drink a lot more water in the next couple of days and see if that will help flush some of the piled up bacteria out of that area..I don't know if that will work but it kinda makes sense...This odor seems to come and go, I will have to watch and see if I have more arm pain when odor is at it's worse....Here we go again, being our own doctors....but it's worth a try....

  • 3monstmama
    3monstmama Member Posts: 123
    edited September 2010
    Options

    What somanywomen says makes perfect sense to me.  Its always been my understanding that plain sweat and perspiration straight out of your body don't smell.  What smells is the bacteria when it decays.  So if your lymph system is mucked up and recoverying from surgery, it makes sense that it wouldn't be dealing as well with the bacteria.

    That said, sorry ladies but I would not worry about this one.  I'd rather walk into a room with a sweaty person than a room with one of those stinky automatic room fresheners.  And I bet if you explain its a side effect of your surgery, the majority of people would rather have the stinkier you there than not.

    As for the rest, they can go take a long walk off a short pier.

  • dutchette61
    dutchette61 Member Posts: 1
    edited September 2010
    Options

    I used corn starch during radiation and that did help. I put it in a round container and used facial puffs to apply it. I read somewhere to clean your underarms with Apple Cider Vinegar. I have been doing that and it helps some. But on the hot and humid days, yikes! I think I will try that Tom's of Maine deodorant.

  • somanywomen
    somanywomen Member Posts: 82
    edited September 2010
    Options

    MY EXPERIMENT>>>>>>>>I believe my strong odor (left side only) is related to the soreness level of my arm aches..Since seeing my GP the other day and he suggested the odor/pain may be from a back-up of lymphatic fluids, I have been holding my arm above my head and doing a pump like action with my hand several times daily (I found this simple exercise on a lymphedema site)..I have also been drinking more lemon or lime (1/4th piece squeezed) in water trying to help flush out bacteria...Well I can't believe it, but I think it's working..I have absolutely no smell and the pain in my arm is so slight for the first time in about a month!!!.....It will be amazing if the pain level is related to the smell level and we can help ourselves by doing something so simple, don't know if it will help anyone else but worth a try for a few days....Post your results if you try this...Good luck all.........

  • chrissyb
    chrissyb Member Posts: 11,438
    edited September 2010
    Options

    A good way to get rid of the dead bacteria is after showering, wipe the area with an alcohol based mouthwash and the dust the area with bicarbsoda.   Works a treat.

    Love ya.   chrissy

  • SandraR
    SandraR Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2017
    Options

    I am eight years post lumpectomy and removal of lymph nodes. I was in a group of people recently and was wondering who smelled like my Grandma! When I got home I realized it was me!! This is something new, eight years later! Only on the one side. I've changed deodorants, but three weeks later and it's back. I'm glad to see that others have this problem, not so happy to have it tho. Thanks for the forum, so I know why

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,918
    edited May 2017
    Options

    Hi Sandra, and welcome to Breastcancer.org!

    This is an old thread and nobody posted here since 2010. Your post brings it to the Active Topics again, so you may have responses from other members too. If not, feel free to start your own new topic! We're so happy you've found this wonderful group of people for great information and support. Please let us know if we can be of any assistance!

    Best,

    The Mods

  • Elem
    Elem Member Posts: 246
    edited May 2017
    Options

    i get that too , but had it on affected side only even before diagnosed. Strange ! But no one knows why! Frustrating!

  • Shaz1970
    Shaz1970 Member Posts: 18
    edited May 2017
    Options

    Sandra R

    I'm having the same problem, but I'm only a week out of Radiotherapy, so I'm not using deodorant at all as the area is so infected at the moment. Not sure how I'm going to return to work in this state 😱

    I will try some of the solutions offered and let you know if they make a difference, but not till the area has healed.

  • vampeyes
    vampeyes Member Posts: 523
    edited November 2017
    Options

    I have noticed a bad BO smell since my BS drained my SNB incision site. It's awful when you can't stand the smell of yourself!

  • Hulga-McSwine
    Hulga-McSwine Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2018
    Options

    I had a full mastectomy last August. I am all the sudden experiencing strong BO on the side where I had cancer and where the sentinel lymph node was removed. I have not had this BOproblem before. I was looking to see if anyone else is experiencing the same thing. Was your sentinel lymph node remived when you had your lumpectomy?

  • waterlojo
    waterlojo Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2018
    Options

    I developed a strong bo after dcis and rad. I found a deo on line with the name native and it is awesome. I highly recommend. No bo any more

  • SJBE
    SJBE Member Posts: 1
    edited March 2020
    Options

    I had a bilateral mastectomy in July 2019 with 3 sentinel nodes removed on one side. I am now experiencing bad B.O. only under the arm where the nodes (3) were removed (no chemo or radiation). I've never really had B.O. before. Neither my oncologist's nurse practitioner nor my GP ever heard of this problem, so I started googling the issue and it led me to this site. As others have stated, I'm happy to know that I'm not alone. I am using aluminum-free deodorant, but even my pjs smell. I have seen recommendations for Tom's of Maine deodorant (though 10 years ago) and I may try that. Is this something I will have to live with, or does it seem to go away after time. I've seen mixed results on that.

    Also, I’ve been told that my chance of getting lymphedema is small since I only had 3 sentinel nodes removed. I don’t have much confidence in that since this B.O. has come about. It makes perfect sense that the odor is due to the loss of the nodes. So why wouldn’t lymphedema still be a concern? The NP told me I didn’t need to wear a compression sleeve on a 5 hour flight because my chances of getting lymphedema are small. Thoughts? What are your experiences

  • Yogatyme
    Yogatyme Member Posts: 1,793
    edited March 2020
    Options

    Same here. Bmx Aug, 2019. BO on cancer /sentinel node side. I mentioned it shortly after surgery to a friend who had bc surgery 2 yrs ago. She said, “oh my god!! I have that too!! I’m so glad you mentioned it.” She recommended Native deodorant and it works pretty well but will still fail at times.

  • kikind
    kikind Member Posts: 16
    edited July 2020
    Options

    I noticed this horrible smell from my armpit about a week into radiation. Nothing helped and I couldn't use any deodorant or cream on that side before radiation every morning. I was so afraid the radiation techs would wrinkle their noses in disgust, lol. I finally asked my radiation oncologist and he said that radiation can damage the apocrine glands in that area. I think they sent mine into overdrive! He said it would probably go away after I'm done with radiation and recommended trying Arm & Hammer deodorant. It works for a few hours but then the stench is back. I feel like Pepe LePew. I just read an article from Dr. Oz that some people have success with white vinegar or Milk of Magnesia. It can't hurt to try it, I guess.

  • callmetenacious
    callmetenacious Member Posts: 22
    edited July 2020
    Options

    @kikind - I also suffered from stinky lump side armpit. Mine started with my surgery and it was really, really, really horrible. One of the blessings of the pandemic is that I only offended my husband and myself. Once I was allowed to used deodorant at 4 weeks post-surgery, it was controlled at really horrible.

    For radiation, I went back to no deodorant and it was disgusting. I was strongly cautioned to avoid using anything that could irritate the skin during radiation.

    I was fortunate not to have skin issues post-radiation and have been using a salt deodorant. Mine was purchased at Sprouts - a regional grocery chain. It took about 10 days of using it to bring the stink to a minimal level. Tom's deodorant was also recommended; I tried it on the non-cancer side and was not impressed with my results.

    Another suggestion that can't hurt is to make sure that you stay well-hydrated -- a great idea for many reasons.

    I think some women are embarrassed by stinky armpit and don't report it. For most of us, it seems to go away over time. I'm 5 weeks post-radiation now and only have a little more post-workout odor on the lump side.


  • kikind
    kikind Member Posts: 16
    edited July 2020
    Options

    CallMe: thank you for responding. I was using Lume before the surgery and radiation, and LOVED it. But it didn't work so well on my stinky armpit, lol. Is the salt deodorant a big salt rock that you moisten with water first? I've heard about them and was thinking of trying one.

  • mac5
    mac5 Member Posts: 85
    edited July 2020
    Options

    thank you Ladies for this discussion.

    I thought I was going crazy! Saw my RO Nurse today. Developed skin breakdown under my arm and outside the radiation field on my neck! Seems possible my smell is coming from the dead skin? RO prescribed Silvadene cream to use where the Mepitel film has been removed.

    I took the suggestion of getting the Native deodorant and body wash. Found it at Walmart It smells nice. Got the Lavender and Rose Fragrance but there are several others.

  • kikind
    kikind Member Posts: 16
    edited July 2020
    Options

    Mac5: I've heard about the Native deodorant and thought about trying that also once radiation is done. I have 4 more boost treatments and 5 more regular treatments. They started the boosts this week to give my armpit a break. The skin is blistering and feels awful. I've actually stopped using any deodorant on that side until I'm done with radiation in a few more weeks. Even using the wound cream my RO gave me hurts like the dickens. He just wants me to keep it clean and dry. And stinky, lol.

  • callmetenacious
    callmetenacious Member Posts: 22
    edited July 2020
    Options

    A decent brand name of the "salt" is Crystal. It's also branded as a "mineral deodorant". It contains mineral salt. It's a stick that you moisten and apply. I find that my store brand is working fairly well.

    I tried Native a few years ago and it did nothing at all for me in the unscented.

    Honestly, if I had someplace to go and was going to wear a silk top, I would use regular deodorant just to be sure that I wasn't going to stink and/or ruin my clothes.

    Supposedly, "stinky armpits" go away and the salt deodorant works more effectively over time. That means that by the time that we get back to real life -- maybe I won't stink at all????