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First follow up mammogram - worried about pain

yesiamadragon Member Posts: 343
edited June 2021 in Pain

I have my first follow up mammogram scheduled for July, and my breast is still really sore and painful. I had my surgery in December, finished radiation in February.

Any words of wisdom? I was thinking of slathering my breast with emla first thing in the morning then going into a bathroom when I get to the hospital and washing it off right before my mammo.


  • MsPrecious
    MsPrecious Member Posts: 16

    I had surgery in August 2019 and finished radiation in November 2019. I had my first mammogram (3-D) after treatment in May 2020. I put myself in a lot of stress thinking about how painful it was going to be. It was a pain-free procedure for me. When I was told that I was done, I was like "really". I cant explain it why it wasn't what I envisaged but I think after radiation and surgery, there's some loss of sensation due to effects of both on the nerves. So, put your mind at rest, it won't be discomforting.

  • Togethertolearn
    Togethertolearn Member Posts: 224

    I had the first after, six months ago. I dreaded it and took ibuprofen beforehand. If they had offered I would've taken the warming pads but I've only been offered that once (maybe that was a fluke) and didn't use it. But it was painless! I do not know why. I felt like they didn't squish it hard. I've never had a painless one. I just had my one year after mammo and it was also painless, but found out my extremely dense breasts are now not dense at all - huh? Likely from tamoxifen which I quit after making two attempts. So the no longer being dense may have helped the mammo not hurt. If you use it anyways, take ibuprofen beforehand (I even take it before my gym classes!)

  • cindyny
    cindyny Member Posts: 1,108

    Dragon - not to be the doom and gloom on this, but mine hurt like hell and I had tears in my eyes. It was a 3D mamo, and you don't even have to hold your breath for it because it goes SLOW, painfully slow.

    Afterwards the tech said, didn't anyone tell me I had to massage my breast? Well no, not that I recall, possibly - but I don't remember hearing anything about massaging my breast. It breaks down the scar tissue.

    I'm also very small breasted so maybe that had a play in it. My recommendation is to start massaging your breast, 2-3x a day up to your appointment. And take Advil, can't hurt. I don't know what elma is, numbing cream? I'd stick w massage & Advil.

    I survived it, we've truthfully been through so much worse, so will you. Best of luck.

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 551

    Also not to be doom and gloom but mine hurt like hell ever since, and it's worse each year. Last year I nearly fainted from the pain and they had to let me take a break before continuing. It feels like the scar tissue is ripping off my rib cage whenever they apply the compression.

    I see my surgeon for routine follow up today and plan on asking her if they ever take pity on people and bring out the lidocaine, I mean, give a girl a break you know? It's illegal to torture prisoners, but what we go through is considered ok.

  • ingerp
    ingerp Member Posts: 1,514

    Mine have not hurt any more than they used to--possibly even less. If I remember I take some Advil before I head out, but they're over with so quickly.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 12,992

    Be sure to ask your PS about massaging your breasts. Some docs recommend for SOME implants. Other docs with other implants say do NOT massage.

  • dogmomrunner
    dogmomrunner Member Posts: 492

    My first after lumpectomy and radiation was not painful with the BC breast. However, the tech managed to catch the edge of my port and almost ripped it out of my chest. I know she did not mean to do it and felt bad but oh boy did that hurt.

  • yesiamadragon
    yesiamadragon Member Posts: 343

    Thank you all for chiming in!

    DMR: YIKES! on the port! I hope mine couldn't catch like that!!!

    As for massage, I have been seeing a lymphedema PT and she has been working hard on breaking up the scar tissue. Still, the breast (and armpit!) is super sore and tender.

    Emla is a numbing cream, when I remember I put it on my port before infusions (no big deal if I don't but I figure this cancer sh#t is painful enough). I have my next infusion a week before my mammogram, and I think I will ask my MO about it.

    I am glad to know some people don't have horrible experiences!

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,933

    Im another one who expected it to hurt and it didn't, at all. I think if you have it done at a full-service breast center, the mammographers are trained how to work with post-op breasts.

  • yesiamadragon
    yesiamadragon Member Posts: 343

    Mammogram today. I did put on Emla (numbing cream) and washed it off when I got there. But I told the tech that this was my first post-op/post radiation mammo and she said if anything gets to be too much just immediately tell her. She was VERy gentle, very slowly screwed the boob, lol. And it was fine!

    And mammo result fine too, though since I am still getting targeted therapy and had negative margins,etc, I wasn't worried about local recurrance this early. Distant spread is my worry with every single ache and pain, but that is another story!

  • Darlene63
    Darlene63 Member Posts: 15

    y follow up mammogram will be in November 2020 six months after my radiation treatment. I am concerned about pain because my breast hurts all the time. The numbness and tingling down my arm gets worse by the end of the day. The slight amount of lymphedema makes my arm shoulder hurts every time I move my arm. I feel like the scar tissue is grabbing the lymphedema and is causing the pain. I see the oncologist tomorrow; got any advice?

  • cindyny
    cindyny Member Posts: 1,108

    Darlene63- massage your breast, lotion up & massage. This helps break up the scar tissue. I also take Advil before I go.

    You've got this, we've been through worse. HUGS

  • gb2115
    gb2115 Member Posts: 551

    Can you still break up scar tissue with massage, years later? No one told me to do that. I'm 4 years out from surgery, and I'm sorry but mammograms are agonizingly painful now. The scar area feels like it's going to rip away from my body. I wish someone would give me some lidocaine. I have to get my next one in October and I'm dreading it. I would take an Ativan if I had someone who could drive me home, but I'm on my own that day unfortunately.

  • Togethertolearn
    Togethertolearn Member Posts: 224

    definitely call and tell your oncologist or surgeon or whoever will listen about you feeling like there is pulling scar tissue- I had that from a botched c-section and had to get surgery to fix the scarred adhesions, omg so painful till they cut it out . Hopefully they would thenlook at your tissue prior to a mammo so they can know what they might be able to do to make it easier or something. I wish I hadn't waited two years of agony to get my scarring cut out, you go !

  • cindyny
    cindyny Member Posts: 1,108

    Massage tissue - I too was never told, or quite possibly being overwhelmed I didn't hear it. My first 3D mammo after LX and rads brought tears to my eyes. I don't know about 4 years out, but it can't hurt to ask your MO or BS.

  • yesiamadragon
    yesiamadragon Member Posts: 343

    Darlene: Are you seeing a lymphedema physical therapist? I haven't shown signs of lymphedema thus far, but I still went back to see her yesterday because things were feeling tight.

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,149

    Aspercream has an OTC product with 4% lidocaine.

  • Tinkeast
    Tinkeast Member Posts: 4

    How soon after surgery is it ok to begin massaging the scar and applying creams? I am one week out and my scars feel like they implanted a pencil under my skin (hard and inflexible). Thanks.

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301

    Too soon I would think! I have healing issues so they wouldn't even touch my scar area until 2 1/2 months... I think you'll want to wait some weeks- meaning several. From what I was told even if you have a scar vs. healing incision the tissues underneath are still healing. At a week out yours is still a healing incision.... Moving things around too soon could cause damage/issues. I would ask your surgeon about this. Also there is such a thing as massage therapy for scars, myofascial release a good PT or certainly a lymphedema therapist could do.... just an FYI....