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Late Effects Post Mx Rads


Hi. I had pmrt back in 2006 and have had a lot of issues over the years and wondering if anyone else does. To start, not even a year after my rads I needed an inhaler for a bad cold where I was up all night coughing.
Now, I’m not sure what is going on. I had bronchitis about a month ago and I developed a non-stop cough. Then after a few days my ribs started hurting really bad. Then it seemed like all this pain migrated to my right side where I had the radiation and I also have an implant. And now, I can’t get the pain to go away.
I also have asthma at the very least and get a lot of coughing fits where I sometimes wake up coughing and having a hard time breathing.
And my back is tender to the touch. Idk if it’s rib pain or lung pain or nerve pain.
I’ve had bouts over the last 5-10 years where my back is tender to the touch right behind my implant. But this time it’s really bad and nothing seems to be helping.
Also, my implant is 15 years or so old {silicone) and I know I have capsular contracture. But that’s a whole other story.
Does anyone else have this? Breathing/Lung issues?


  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,072

    There is such a thing as radiation recall pneumonitis which can show up many years later. Chronic cough can be due to a multitude of issues. Mine is from radiation damage (identified by the scarring pattern in my lungs on HRCTs as well as symptoms of radiation induced pulmonary fibrosis six months post rads) but there are many other more common causes. I currently use inhaled corticosteroids but have previously been on oral steroids and oxygen.

    The pain on your radiation side could be nerve pain aggravated by the coughing. I have had it ever since I finished rads. The ribs look OK on CT scans but the nerve damage in the area makes them painful. Gabapentin and nerve blocks done by a pain management doctor have helped.

    I hope you can figure out the cause. A chest x-ray is a good place to start if your cough persists.

  • redspark3
    redspark3 Member Posts: 103

    Hi. Thanks for your response. I’m sorry to hear of your experience. It sounds like you’ve been through the wringer.
    I did look into radiation pneumonitis and I don’t think it’s that.
    i know I have some damage to my lungs because like you I started needing an inhaler after radiation tx. I take the corticosteroids too and actually have been finding lately that I need a stronger dose.
    I’m not sure if this pain is from my implant because anything I do now hurts on my right side. And the implant is old. I’ve been wanting to get it taken out, but I can’t find a plastic surgeon who will do the explant surgery and take insurance. Every surgeon I have called or met does not take insurance and I just cannot afford it right now.

    I do have a chest ct scheduled and I am going to see if I can move it up.
    This will my first ct in many years and I am nervous for what it will show. But I also need to know.

    Can you use your right side? And did you do any physical therapy?
    Thanks again and best to you.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,072

    I did PT as well as had acupuncture. I had a lumpectomy so no implant but did end up with breast LE. So far my arm has been OK. At one point I couldn't breathe without rib pain but the nerve block combined with PT helped that.

    I'm sorry that you can't find a plastic surgeon to do the explant surgery. The chest CT is a good idea since it will show both your ribs and your lungs. Also, if it finds a problem with your implant insurance will pay to have it removed. I hope you get some answers soon.