Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

New here - First post - RIB PAIN

Hi everyone.

First time posting so I’m not actually really sure what I’m doing. I just need someone to talk to. I’m 35 - I was DX in June last year. HER2+ only. Stage 3. SMX - full response to chemotherapy- PCR

Ive been having pain in my Ribs on my left hand side ( same side as my cancer was ) since October. ( before surgery ) I had a CT with contrast in November which was all clear - would a CT show if anything sinister was going on with my ribs ? Or would I need a bone scan? My ribs are sore to touch and and I have an ache that comes and goes. I’m so so worried sat awake at 3:30am looking through pages and pages of previous posts. Ive spoken to my surgeon, breast cancer nurse, radiologist ( haven’t started radiation yet ) and GP about it none seem worried but I AM, I need peace of mind.

Has anyone one experienced Rib pain brought on before surgery and before radiation but after chemotherapy? if so what did it turn out to be



  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 766
    edited January 10

    Hi @gemczk , I’m not a medical professional but what you are describing sounds like costochondritis. It always affects the ribs on the left side. I developed it after surgery and radiation to my right side. It’s due to inflammation and the cause is often unknown. If it is persistent PT, acupuncture or steroid injections can help. Mine was treated by a burn surgeon (long story) but it might be worth consulting ortho if your other doctors can’t help. I hope you can get some relief.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Hello @gemczk, and welcome to our community! We're sorry for what you are going through, but glad you found us. It's great that you've already reached out to your medical team and they don't seem to be worried, but we understand your frustration. We wanted to mention, in case you didn't know already, that besides these discussion forums, we have free weekly virtual meet-ups over Zoom where you can ask questions and talk to other members in real-time. In case you might be interested, here is our webpage, where you can register for them:

    We hope you find some comfort. If you need someone to talk to, we're here for you!


    The Mods

  • janehicks
    janehicks Member Posts: 48

    I've had rib pain which now reaches around to my back (T11. T12) since rads. CT/MRI has mostly ruled out mets, waiting for a PET scan. I was also told possible costochondriosis.

    PT has helped a great deal but when I stop, the pain comes back.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 766

    Hi @janehicks , My left rib pain was finally helped by steroid injections both where the cartilage attaches to the sternum and the ribs. I ended out with accidental thermal burns on my face, torso and arms about six weeks after finishing rads; the burn surgeon thinks that is what triggered the costochondritis.

    I also had successful laser surgery for scar tissue causing severe pain in my left hand and left facial trigeminal nerve. Unfortunately I still have nerve pain caused by scarring in the entire right radiation field since the laser surgery has not been approved for areas treated by radiotherapy. There are some experimental trials for this being done for head and neck cancer so it might be a possibility some day. For now I take gabapentin at night to sleep and put up with it during the day. Given everything the burn surgeon fixed I'm not complaining.

    I hope your PET scan finally rules out mets and you are able to get treatment that works.

  • maud
    maud Member Posts: 3

    A week ago I experienced a severe pain in my left lower rib. My treatment of chemo lumpectomy and radio ended April. I have had to stop Herceptin because it gave me a stroke, but then I have been on Letrozole. The pain everywhere was really bad especially the hips and knees making walking very difficult. It was changed to Aromasine, but the pain was worse and I was given a script to return to Letrozole. Then I got this bad pain in the rib. I wrote to my oncologist and she called me in on Friday to examine it when she agrees something was wrong, I had an Xray and now I am awaiting a Dexa scan. I am afraid that it might be bone secondaries. I need more info about this. The rib has a moving part that chicks as it moves. I thought it might be fractured, but the Xray showed it is not a fracture. In the meantime I must not take Letrozole, just the morphine and morphine patches. I am frightened.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 766
    edited January 28

    Hi @maud , I'm sorry that you have severe rib pain. The clicking sound may be a clue that it is rib subluxation otherwise known as slipping rib. The doctor used a physical test called the hooking maneuver to check me for this (don't have it.) It doesn't damage any internal organs but it can really irritate the nerves. The pain could also be caused by AI cartilage degradation, a possibility since you had pain in other joints. Of course they should check for fractures and mets but there are plenty of other things it could be.

    One good thing I have discovered is that an intercostal nerve block can given for longer acting pain relief. They generally do this after other causes have been ruled out and more conservative treatment (pain relievers, PT, acupuncture, time) hasn't worked. Right now I'm in the conservative treatment phase but it's a comfort to know something more can be done. I hope they identify the source of your pain and find a good solution.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    We're so sorry @maud, we know pain it hard enough to deal with without the added stress and anxiety of worrying about the source and what it may mean for your continued treatment and recovery. We hope you find out what's going on as soon as possible, please keep us posted.

  • gemczk
    gemczk Member Posts: 2

    Thank you everyone for your replies