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Old Mastectomy Scar Itching

peverson Member Posts: 4
edited March 2022 in Pain

I'm wondering if anyone else has had to deal with intense itching of an old mastectomy scar. I had my first mastectomy (right) in March 2010 (the prophylactic second one in December of the same year). The past couple of days, the end of the scar under my right armpit has really started itching like CRAZY. Can anyone recommend something that I can do to take the edge off of the itch?




  • CGLion
    CGLion Member Posts: 24

    I haven't had a mastectomy, but I did have part of two ribs removed due to nerve compression. At first the top quarter of my chest from just above my collarbone (where my incision was) to just above my right breast was completely numb. As my nerves began to grow back my incision began to hurt kind of how you are describing yours. It was super sensitive to my bra straps and any shirts, when it wasn't hurting it itched. When I went to PT the therapist encouraged me to firmly massage the scar area and also to use a soft nail brush to gently brush over the area that was itching and was extra sensitive. They told me this would help to desensitize the over active nerve as it regrew. It took a while but it really did help with the itching and hypersensitivity. With your surgery being so long ago I'm not sure if it will help you but just wanted to share something that helped me with incision pain/itching.

    Also have you had your DR look at it? It might not be a bad idea to have it checked out since this just started after so long with no issues.

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178

    My bmx was 7 years ago. No problem until this past January when the non cancer side began to itch, and hurt a little. It itched a LOT. Mentioned it to MO, he felt around, ordered PET/ct.

    It was back. 7 nodes of 11 were positive. Suggest you get into MO to see if anything is going on.

  • peverson
    peverson Member Posts: 4

    I see a different doctor on Tuesday, and I'll talk to her about it. Thanks for the tip about the nail brush!


  • peverson
    peverson Member Posts: 4

    I haven't had any pain, but I will talk to doc on Tuesday.I have no breasts, but I can still ask! Right now it's not itching, but it's worth checking into.



  • EllieMay77
    EllieMay77 Member Posts: 1

    Did you ever sort out this itching.  I've got exactly the same problem 9 years post mastectomy and it's keeping me awake.  I've been using antihistamines but it doesn't help.  I've not had itching like it before - it's painful.


  • lehrski
    lehrski Member Posts: 68

    I had a mastectomy, no reconstruction, about 10 years ago and the intense itching comes up from time to time. It seems like nerves are still growing back. I've noticed this happens just before I regain sensation in an area that was previously numb. I usually massage it hard and it seems to sort out the messages. When all else fails and the itching is driving me crazy, I pinch it hard or use my nails, although I know that's definitely not what's recommended.

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301

    I'm not quite 2 years out BMX. I had more intense itching the first 6 months. I still get (mostly nightly) moderate itching at times. I've always found firmly pressing on the area or areas helps "reach" where the itch is and helps resolve it. Doesn't always take it away though helps quite a bit most of the time.

    I sitll have a lot of numbness, including on my one side into my upper back. I have some superficial feeling in my chest area though much numbness in other layers. Most of the time this is background noise thankfully. Most nerves regenerate (from damage) within a year if they're going to. there can still be some nice regeneration that occurs the second year. Generally after that regeneration is much less. I think I'm where I will be..... I see the itching as maybe some healing though also mainly as more the "damage" that will not improve much....

  • debee71
    debee71 Member Posts: 3

    Hi everyone.

    Wondering what the results were..

    I'm 5 years post chemo & bilateral mastectomy and I started with extreme itching in my left armpit ( cancer side) 3 months ago. No rash but holy cow it itches like crazy. I've had 2 ultrasounds that show nothing but my surgical oncologist is ordering a CT of my chest and a bone scan because they could see how much it was driving me crazy.

    She prescribed Gabapentin for the itching and is at least helping me to sleep but during the day it would make me too drowsy so I just deal with it. Ugh

    I'm completely freaked out that it's a recurrence. Nothing else makes sense this many years later :(

    Just wondering what tests you've had run and results.

  • FaithAndTrust
    FaithAndTrust Member Posts: 14

    hi Debee

    I've had intense itching on mastectomy area on and off over past seven years..most recently I asked my Oncologist and he assured me it is result of having had radiation...seemingly its a thing especially years down the line.

    Hopefully this is what is happening for you but do let us know your scan results 🤞

  • pokeyfingers
    pokeyfingers Member Posts: 1

    I’m 2.5 years since smx and 10 months from scar revision that put me in hospital with sepsis. I had a vac pump for 12 weeks to close the gaping hole under my arm, left with a worse scar! But for the last week I have had intense itching on the scar and under armpit, I’m using E45 anti itch cream and antihistamines to no avail! Any advice please 🙏

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,290

    @pokeyfingers, welcome to!

    We're sorry that you still haven't received responses to your post. Sometimes, posts may not receive immediate responses due to the nature of online communities, but hopefully, this post will increase your visibility, more people will see it, and you have a better chance of a reply.

    Regarding the intense itching, it's understandable that you're looking for relief, but while we're not medical professionals, we strongly recommend consulting with your surgeon, if possible, if the discomfort persists. Probably is nothing serious, but better to ensure that the itching isn't a sign of an underlying issue or infection.

    Good luck, and please come back to let us know how you're doing!


    The Mods

  • chelsea5
    chelsea5 Member Posts: 46

    @pokeyfingers I had SMX in 2017 and stil experience intense itching on the SMX side occasionally. It is disruptive and uncomfortable and sometimes scary. I have found help from using regular Jergen’s lotion applied after a shower makes a difference. I also try to stay hydrated with water. I don’t really know if that helps or not but I tend to think it does. Hope you are on the mend ❤️‍🩹

  • metaclaudia
    metaclaudia Member Posts: 7

    Hi. Almost sixteen years after my mastectomy, I get itching. Not aa often as in the first ten years, but it can be intense. For a long time, doctors would tell me it was “phantom pain.” I told them “no - it’s itching under my scar!”