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All TopicsForum: Not Diagnosed With a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned → Topic: very sore/tender ribs

Topic: very sore/tender ribs

Forum: Not Diagnosed With a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned —

Meet others concerned about developing a recurrence or metastases.

Posted on: Apr 29, 2009 01:20PM

rockysmom wrote:

I am two years out from my bc treatment, but have a current concern. I have an area or my ribs that have become very painful. Most of the time during the day I don't notice anything, but when I try to sleep on that side it hurts enough to not be able to sleep. If I run my fingers over that area as if I were feeling for "lumps", it hurts. Feels like a very sore bruise- but no swelling or bruising- just that the pain feels like that.

When I was diagnosed with bc, I never had any scans. No PET, CT, MRI, etc. Just had mammograms, one ultrasoiund, biopsy, lumpectomy.  The Doctors said (before surgery) that I didn't need any other scans, reports because my tumor was small and nothing else was seen on mammo. After surgery, because I had clean margins and no node involvement they again said no need for any scans.

Now I am seeing lots of women her e whose dx looks similar to mine, but have mets now, or had mets at presentation.

With this new rib pain I am wondering should I push for more tests?

I have a follow up with my Onc. June 26 and want to be informed and ask the corerct questions.

Any insight, thoughts are appreciated.



01/07 IDC 1.5cm, 0/6 nodes, lumpectomy, rads, femara Dx 1/3/2007, IDC, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 29, 2009 01:41PM shiny wrote:

Hi Rocky,

I have had 2 "scares" related to bone mets and one to a distant enlarged lymph node. Each time the oncs took it seriously. To date am  still NED.

The last "scare" was just about a month ago. My specialist nurse and the oncs strongly recommended that I get a bone scan just to be sure. My General practicioner however, was very laid back about it. I didn't know what to think but on my team's advice I am reluctantly comming to the realisation that however anyoying,unsettling,scary etc getting "checked out" for possible Mets might be, it's best to go sooner then later (the 2 week rule, but I leave it a bit longer).

My Macmillan nurse was the one who was most compelling in her recommendation that I get used to the drill and go early to be tested. I guess because she sees the effects of people leaving too much time before going to doc and having more extensive damage to manage as a result. My pain was on the spine and some ribs. It turns out, that it is further degenerative stuff and not mets.

I do feel better for going, eventhough at the time, you don't like to make a fuss.  So if it was me, i'd go now and not wait until June. Sure you will get more girls coming on to give you their take on your question soon.

Take care of you.


Dx 5/2007, IDC, 2cm, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): SIEA flap; Reconstruction (right): SIEA flap Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary
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Apr 29, 2009 09:16PM MREanes wrote:

Hi Judy,

I have rather extensive bone mets and some of those are in my ribs.

Most of the time, those mets haven't hurt, but sometimes they do.  The pain in my ribs feels like a bruised or cracked rib.  When the pain is relatively minor, I would only really notice them when I rolled over onto my side during sleep.  Right now, they hurt all of the time.

I don't want to scare you because your pain may very well be a bruised rib.  If you have had these pains for a couple of weeks and the pain is not subsiding, I would call your oncologist and get them checked out.   Don't wait for two more months.  If it has only been a couple of days, there could be some bruising that just hasn't had a chance to heal.

I hope that your pain is something other than mets.  However, if you've had pain for a couple of weeks, get it checked out.  It's better to be safe.

Best wishes,


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Apr 30, 2009 10:55AM - edited Apr 30, 2009 10:56AM by juli0212

I am also 2 years out of chemo/radiation treatment and have pain in the ribs, almost right below where my scar would be from tumor removal (1.6cm).  I had IDC/SND/EST+ and am on tamoxifen.  I did call my oncologist, as it's been now 3 weeks with the pain, one day was worse than any other...and they NP was going to see me.  I had troubles with this NP before, so I'm waiting for my regular ONCO appt. in a few weeks.  That's when we were going to also change me from Tamoxifen to an AI, due to chemo-induced menopause at age 47...now post-menopausal.  I get leg-calf cramps as well (think it's from tamoxifen), had them checked for blood clots, as it hindered walking...comes and goes.  The pain in the rib area (my tumor was SMACK against the chest wall, had to have 2 surgeries/ending in partial mastectomy) is pretty constant, and if I touch the rib, it hurts.  Not a muscle pull, I don't think.  I'll get it checked out.

Hoping for the best for everybody above...I'm very sorry about the mets in the bone, Mike.  What is your prognosis for that?  Any treatments?   (I'm still under a 0% prognosis)   ~juli

Live every day like you're driving a sports car, which I do! Dx 5/5/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 1/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/30/2006 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 8/11/2006 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Gemzar (gemcitabine), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/5/2007 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 2/12/2010 Aromasin (exemestane)
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May 1, 2009 09:20AM winggirl2 wrote:


Thinking of you and hoping for a good outcome. I know you have a great team at UM - call them and do not wait until June. Please call, email or PM me if you want to talk.



WingGirl Dx 11/1/2006, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+
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May 1, 2009 04:55PM LauraT wrote:


I was about to ask the same question until I read your post. I have some pain that feels like bruising on my rib cage under my armpit. When I look at it in the mirror it looks normal.  It's more of a "tenderness" kind of pain than an "ache". I'm not sure what pain from rib mets feels like, but I'm worried. I'm trying not to freak out about every little ache and pain I get, but this is wierd.

Good thoughts to us both that we're worried about nothing.


Dx 5/5/2008, ILC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 1, 2009 09:55PM Coltsneck wrote:

Hi everyone,

Join the club!  I also had/have rib pain.  But I also had a major episode of back pain that lasted several weeks.  My onc ordered a bone scan and MRI of Upper and Lower spine.  I had some 'uptake' or 'hot' spot on my ribs and then had a rib x-ray.My onc consulted with the radiologist and they came to the conclusion that I probably have bone degeneration - possibly due to radiation.  I have occasional rib spasms and tenderness.  My long winded way of saying that you have to be tested because it could be anything from benign to metastasis.  Be forceful and insist on a bone scan. 

Dx 5/2/2006, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 2, 2009 02:51AM - edited May 2, 2009 02:52AM by Mazy1959


My oncs tell me that if I have a pain bad enough to cause me worry that lasts longer than 2 weeks...then it needs checked. Also of course if it is a severe pain it should be checked right away. Pain is a symptom and  justifies having scans. My bone mets happened to be the same spot I had had pain for a long time. One night it got severely painful. Painful enough that I was crying and taking alot of pain pills . My first thoughts were that I must have a ruptured disk or something of that nature. My husband took me to ER and the mass showed on a standard xray. Soon after I had a bone biopsy and it confirmed my onc's diagnosis of mets to the 5th lumbar. . After 9 months of Aromasin and Zometa the bone healed and the tumor is no longer visible. If I were you I would call and make an appt with your onc before june. I would let your onc know that you are quite upset about your pain and that you would like scans to put your worries to rest. Pain is a symptom that something is wrong. ..I pray it's nothing. Hugs, Mazy

Bone marrow mets in 90% of bone marrow. Dx 3/6/2003, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 12/19/2006, ILC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 4/25/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/4/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 8/9/2012 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel)
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May 2, 2009 06:25PM mke wrote:

I have tenderness in my ribs and described it to my onc during a routine visit.  It isn't painful exactly, just tender to the touch.  I had a bone scan and they didn't see anything on my ribs but found a funny spot on my leg which led to an MRI.  The funny spot is a "bone infarct" which is an area of dead bone I guess.   They don't know what causes this, but it isn't related to bone mets.  So my tender ribs are just tender ribs.  I've had rads on both sides and cracked a couple of ribs so it might just due to that.

I hope you get similar results.

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May 2, 2009 08:53PM Analemma wrote:

Rockysmon, if you have pain that wakes you up at night, get it checked.  A couple of years ago I asked my orthopedic surgeon about bone mets symptoms, and that's what he said, "bone mets generally hurt at night."  Sure enough, when I got mets to my rib and spine, it hurt when I rolled over, and I couldn't lie on that side comfortably.  Call your onc and describe what you posted here, and he can tell you whether you should wait until you see him in June, or have a bone scan.  I'm guessing he will order a bone scan to rule out mets. 

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. --John W. Whitehead Dx 12/10/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 5/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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May 3, 2009 05:49PM - edited May 3, 2009 05:51PM by Shirlann

Hi gals, I am 10 years out, have ALWAYS had rib pain (no mets, so far) but I think I have osteonecrosis or "bone death".  I started on Vitamin D3, 2000mg a day about February, and my rib pain is gone.

It is fairly common to have short term rib pain after rads, this is Costochondritis, and usually goes away on its own, mine did not.

This, of course, is of no use to the met people, but if you just have rib pain, this may help.

Gentle hugs, Shirlann 

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May 3, 2009 06:05PM Brenda_R wrote:

Just curious. Does costochondritis cause rib pain and tenderness on the sides of your ribcage?  I've been having problems with the sides of my ribs hurting and have sore spots on each side. Worse on the BC side and I thought maybe due to rads, but no reason for the other side to hurt.

Dx 12/12/2006, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/17 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 12/29/2006 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 1/28/2007 AC Radiation Therapy 5/1/2007 Breast Targeted Therapy 7/10/2007 Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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May 3, 2009 08:36PM susan_CNY wrote:

I have had rib pain since rads,had all the scans and so far NED, just another side effect you are not told about unless it happens to you, then its oh yeah you had rads, is common just ignore it, I don't understand paying an onco to order all these debillitating treatments at our expense, when I hear a newbie being dx I can predict her tx as well as most of us can, why is it we have to pay for their expertise, I have not heard anything new in 5 years, I am just grateful that my Grandmas cobalt tx worked

dx 4/1984 cervical /hyst 10/2002 stage 2 colon /hemi-colectomy/5FU and Leukovorin chemo 11/2003 stage 1 bc tumor 1.6 grade 3 no nodes, possible vascular invasion / lumpectomy and rads 7/2009 lumpectomy found to be benign
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May 7, 2009 11:56AM - edited May 7, 2009 11:58AM by SCMartin

I was wondering if anyone has had rib pain from Arimidex. I have one sore rib on the left under my breast. I have had it about 2 weeks. It only hurts if I press on it or stretch my arm really high straight up. It does not hurt at night when sleeping or when lying on that side. I have been on Arimidex for 2 and a half years. I will be starting on Zometa next month and will have two infusions a year. The pain has not gotten any worse but is still there when pressed.  Maybe I should stop pressing that spot! I did have chemo and radiation.

Dx 6/22/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, PR+, HER2-
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May 7, 2009 12:38PM vivre wrote:

As Shirlann said, rib pain can be from costal condritis. It is very common in all women and usually results from injury or exposure to chemicals. Radiation is definitely a culprit. I went through all kinds tests with regular doctors until I finally went to a chiropractor, who not only explained it, but successfully treated it. The pain can be moderate to severe and can radiate around the rib cage and even to the back. Chiropractic manipulation can help to reallign everything and then a massage therapist did deep tissue massage and then ultrasound. The pain went away after a few treatments. The first two actually, made the pain worse, as she said it would, because she was breaking up all the inflammation.

It is definitely wise to rule out everything else, but try to find a chiro who has dealt with condritis before too.

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May 7, 2009 04:33PM rockysmom wrote:

Thank you for all your thoughts/input.

I did have some rib pain after rads, but this is in areas not radiated. Could this still be costochondritis ?

I don't think I'm allowed to have deep tissue massage as I have truncal lymphedema. But I do go to a chiropractor- I could ask him.


01/07 IDC 1.5cm, 0/6 nodes, lumpectomy, rads, femara Dx 1/3/2007, IDC, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 8, 2009 09:05PM nelia48 wrote:

Costochondritis does cause a lot of pain.  I just finished radiation and have been having a lot of pain.  I mentioned it to my oncologist, and he said to give it some time, as the radiation would be causing this.  I do have to say, it is easing up.  But I have had the costochondritis before and it is very painful and can feel like a broken rib.  But as the others have said, if it continues, insist on testing!

Visit my blog at www.hiddenrichessecretplaces.b... Diagnosos: IDC - T4, N2, ER+, PR+, Grade 2, 5/15 lymph nodes, diagnosed 7/2008 Stage IIIb
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May 8, 2009 11:01PM bbmom wrote:

I've been having more of a pressure under the last rib on my left side. I have one spot that's tender to touch, but not real painful. My cancer was in the right breast so my rads was on the right side. I'm scheduled for a bone scan next week because of pain in my lower back. I guess if there's anything gong on with the rib they'll see that too.

"The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you." Dx 11/25/2009, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 14/17 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 15, 2009 07:59AM - edited May 15, 2009 02:25PM by mlkelly58

I am watching this thread with interest.  I have tenderness along my rib cage on my left side, which is the side where the cancer was.  It is not bruised, and it feels different than a muscle strain.  It also doesn't feel like the bone pain I had from Neulasta; it is just tender when any pressure is applied.  I did have a fall last weekend, so I am hoping it is from that.  However, it started out small, about the size of a half dollar, and this morning, it is a much larger area, moving around to the back of my rib cage.  I just had a negative MRI, my first since treatment ended in August.  I see the onc in a few weeks, but may give him a call.

Mary Dx 6/13/2007, ILC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 28, 2009 12:58AM carolerparks wrote:

Judy, I seem to be experiencing the same pain you described, going on two weeks now. The pain area increases I little each day.  It just didn't occur to me to be related to my bc (guess just my typical denial mode). Just had mammo in December & I completed the tamoxifen. My pain feels just like I bruised my ribs, but no discoloration or swelling. I have been very active playing tennis and jogging with my 14 yr old daughter, but I haven't had any injury & play tennis right handed (pain on left). I was recently laid off from my job and lost insurance coverage, so I am hesitant to make an appointment with my doctor. I'll be watching this thread & hope all is well for everyone.

Carole,  in Texas.

"Always do what scares you most."

Dx 8/15/2002, DCIS, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes
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Feb 9, 2010 03:11PM cabmom wrote:

Hi all.  New to this thread but am definitely concerned.  I am just finishing my chemo next week and have yet to start rad's but I'm having soreness in my ribs on the same side as my breast cancer.  It's on the side and right underneath the breast.  Not sure what to think but I do know that I am scared that my cancer could have spread and that I just don't know yet.  Any advice?  I have talked to my oncs office and told them of the pain but they don't seem to be concerned and said there would be many more symptoms if it had spread.  Unfortunately it's just not easy not to be worried.........

Dx 6/2/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 17, 2011 06:24PM - edited May 17, 2011 06:29PM by 3rdtimesacharm

Hi everyone I'm new to this site I am actuailly an OVCA survivor i'm in my 2nd recurrence and i just recently started having rib pain under my left breast, i had an X Ray done which showed nothing at all and my regular physician is having me do an MRI on Thursday to see if the problem can be found, I have a very hard time breathing and it hurts like H _ _ _ when i laugh real hard ( i have to hold my side and calm myself down or else i can't breathe at all, and when i lay on either side at night i can feel a pulsing in my side and it hurts like mad....this pain is new to me and i'm a bit scared at the thought that this could be a sign of breast cancer.( i know that when a person has either one of these diseases there is a 50% chance that they will get the other...i'm really scared and not sure what to do i have thought about talking to my Oncologist about this but with my family Dr. already ordering the MRI and he is also a colleague of my Oncologist (he is the one that referred me to him) and he gets all the feedback anyhow i figured that i might not need to contact him in this case (although i just might anyhow since i won't see him until next week anyhow..is there anything else that i can do about this pain is there any way to stop the hurting so i can at least get comfortable on my side and get a good nights sleep without being in so much pain......i was just reading another post after i submitted this and i have the same thing, i have tenderness from the front all the way to the back and it is on the puffy side, i also had a fall about 2 weeks ago and i landed on my back (my neighbor was being a smart ass and caused me to fall backwards when he broke the chair i was in), but i have the exact same thing that one of the other ladies has described. 

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Jan 10, 2012 03:15PM bexb wrote:

My rib has been sore for several days. I had a follow up with my doctor today and he said it is not cancer but to contact him if it gets worse or doesn't go away.

Dx 5/5/2010, ILC, Left, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 4/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 19, 2012 09:56PM 3jaysmom wrote:

im still having pain soreness, so the ortho is going to run the radioactive bone scan for me.. soon as i scheduale the appt!!!

  he also told me he's "pretty sure" its not mets, or anything, my last pet dcan showed nothing... but that was awhile ago.. i want the test, to just stop worrying.........3jays

3jaysmom Chemotherapy 4/21/2009 Dx DCIS, 2cm, Stage IIB, 1/27 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 20, 2012 10:03AM apple wrote:

i retrospect i had a lot of pain after radiation.. it's much better now and my ribs really did hurt like heck.  i think it is very common.

peace and love, apple - ..... Mary Magdalen Dx 4/10/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+, HER2+

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