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Redness / swelling 4 weeks after lumpectomy

cantabrigienne Member Posts: 2

Hi all,

I’m just curious if anyone developed sudden redness and swelling and increased tenderness several weeks after their surgery? My lumpectomy seemed to be healing very well until day 28, when I suddenly woke up with more pain/swelling and developed redness in the breast. I saw my surgeon that day, who aspirated some fluid and put me on a dose of antibiotics, but so far it hasn’t cleared up (I’m on day 4 of antibiotics.) The redness has me most concerned because I found a journal article discussing cases where the surgery for a non-inflammatory cancer somehow “triggered” an inflammatory breast cancer. I thought things were headed in the right direction but now I’m feeling so worried! I definitely need to stop googling… 😭

I’m supposed to start radiation next week but worried this will push things back…



  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,281

    Hi there, @cantabrigienne! We're so sorry you find yourself here with this worry. We certainly understand your concerns and it's always frustrating to have setbacks when your healing seems to be moving in the right direction! An infection or possible seroma (which can develop weeks after the initial surgery) seem like the most likely explanations for the symptoms you're having - do you have another follow-up scheduled with your surgeon to check on how things are looking? We'd suggest giving them a call and letting them know that symptoms haven't subsided after several days of antibiotics, especially with your radiation scheduled to start soon. You may also find some information on our Lumpectomy Lounge thread - healing after surgery can be an up and down process, and hearing from others about their experiences can be helpful!

    Please do keep us posted on how things are going! We know these setbacks can be hard, but we're all here for you.

    The Mods

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 758

    I'm guessing it maybe a seroma and not an infection. I could have written your post, almost. I developed a seroma 3 weeks post op after I thought all was healing so well. I can only suggest wearing a binding bra. It was even suggested to me to put a rolled up sock in my bra. What that did was make a dent in where the seroma was and try to push the fluid back into my body away from the surgery site. It will take time for it to go down. It did not stop me from having radiation, but afterwards the spot got really hard. It still is . I wish I had known all this post surgical stuff could happen, but it does. Best of luck to you for speedy healing.

  • nishahealth
    nishahealth Member Posts: 1

    @cantabrigienne, I'm truly sorry to hear that you're going through this added stress post-surgery. First and foremost, remember that everyone's body heals differently, and post-surgical complications, while unsettling, can be a part of the recovery process for some.

    1. Infections & Seromas: It's not uncommon for some patients to develop infections or seromas (pockets of clear fluid) after a lumpectomy, which could cause the symptoms you described. The antibiotics you're on should help with any potential infection, though it might take more than a few days to see significant improvement.
    2. Inflammatory Breast Cancer Concern: While it's essential to be vigilant, it's also crucial not to jump to conclusions based on isolated cases found online. The onset of inflammatory breast cancer in the manner you described is exceedingly rare. Trust in your medical team's expertise and the tests they've conducted.
    3. Radiation Timeline: If your symptoms persist or you're still concerned, communicate openly with your oncologist about potential delays in radiation. It's crucial for any treatment to begin when you're in the best possible condition, both physically and mentally.
    4. Limit Online Research: While it's natural to seek information, especially when anxious, try to limit the "Dr. Google" searches. They can often lead to more anxiety than clarity. Instead, write down your concerns and discuss them directly with your healthcare provider.

    Keep us posted about your situation.