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All TopicsForum: Not Diagnosed With a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned → Topic: rib pain

Topic: rib pain

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

Meet others concerned about developing a recurrence or metastases.

Posted on: May 16, 2017 01:45PM

leger wrote:

I don't even know where to start. I am almost 3 years out from BC. For the past 6-8 months I have been having pain in my ribs (radiation side). In September I was worked up for and diagnoses with Rheumatoid Arthritis and the chest x-ray revealed a healing fracture on the left 5th rib. Having had a broken rib before, I was stunned to read this report. While I had been having a bit of discomfort it was nothing like the pain I had with my other broken rib. Now it has gotten so "uncomfortable" that I can hardly wear a bra. I even ordered bra extenders online. lol I have also started having shooting/stabbing pains in my mid to lower back. I haven't thought much about the back as I have had back issues for years and I have RA. What to do?

Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do? Do you insist more tests? I do not see an oncologist, My oncological breast surgeon manages me. I actually have my 6 month visit today, but I'm afraid that she will poo poo my concern off. I also have small nodules on my left lung, but they appear to be stable after a repeat CT scan.

This whole uncertainty thing truly makes me crazy (er) . Thank you all in advance for any insight/advice.

Dx 7/3/2014, LCIS, Left, Grade 2 Dx 7/3/2014, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/30/2014 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Multi-catheter: Breast
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May 16, 2017 02:21PM - edited May 16, 2017 02:35PM by dlb823

Have you had a PET or CT or MRI of your ribs? I would think a 2nd fracture (if I'm following your story correctly) would merit looking a bit further -- not that I think it's mbc, but just for your peace of mind. A bone building med such as Xgeva (Prolia) might also be appropriate, although I'm not a doc.

If it's any reassurance, many women with bone mets report their pain as more aching or burning than stabbing. Of course, if nerves are involved, it can be stabbing, and there is no formula for how mbc presents. But many of us first experienced deep aching, burning pain, exacerbated by activity, vs. shooting or stabbing pain.

Good luck, and do lay out your and concerns to your BS. You know your body better than he/she does, and you need a specific dx (which may necessitate a referral to another type of specialist, such as an ortho doc) for any ongoing pain and multiple rib fractures, even if it turns out to be osteoporosis or something entirely unrelated to your bc.

Good luck, and please keep us posted! Deanna

Deanna "The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears" Native American proverb Dx 2/1/2008, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/3/2014, Stage IV
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May 16, 2017 02:28PM leger wrote:

Thank you Deanna, I truly appreciate your advice.

The 1st rib fracture was on the opposite side and occurred about 4 months prior to my BC dx. Then last July I broke some metatarsals in my foot. I'm falling apart. lol

But I have to laugh or I would cry all the time.

Dx 7/3/2014, LCIS, Left, Grade 2 Dx 7/3/2014, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/30/2014 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Multi-catheter: Breast
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May 16, 2017 02:59PM kcat2013 wrote:

Leger, I think it's good to bring this up with your BS and if she doesn't listen well enough if it was me I would go either to my PCP or Rheumatologist. I agree it might be prudent to do a scan at this point as the previous poster suggested.

But chiming in as a fellow RA sufferer I know I have rib/chest pain from the RA--confirmed through scans. Can you tell if the pain is directly on the bone or in the tissue/cartilage connecting the bones? It's sometimes hard for me to tell but my doctor has explained to me that the RA is causing inflammation in the area connecting/surrounding the ribs and sternum and this it what causes my pain. It's a non-cancer cause for you to ask about! :)

34 at diagnosis Dx 8/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 9/4/2013 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 10/25/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/7/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 6/20/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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May 16, 2017 03:34PM leger wrote:

Hi Kcat, I really cannot tell. I do know that it gets worse as the day goes on, unlike my joints that are affected by RA. lol, it's kinda like doing a breast exam, after surgery, 4 biopsies and radiation. My boob is so busy, I would never know if there was something new in there.

Take today as an example, I have been at work since 6:45 (I'm a school nurse) I was fine this morning. Now, the left side of my ribs are screaming and all I want is to rip this bra off. lol It also makes me want to scream. We shall see what my BS has to say.

Thank you for the listening ear.

Dx 7/3/2014, LCIS, Left, Grade 2 Dx 7/3/2014, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/30/2014 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Multi-catheter: Breast
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May 16, 2017 04:33PM SummerAngel wrote:

I have similar pain. Mainly on the left side towards the back, but sometimes other areas of my rib cage. This has been going on for a least a year, and while it gets better and worse, it never totally goes away. I have mixed connective tissue disease, and I'm convinced that is the cause. If it were mets it would have progressed by now.

Age at dx: 45. Oncotype, left-side tumor: 9. Right side had multifocal IDC and "extensive" LCIS. Isolated tumor cells in 1 right-side node. Dx 4/3/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 4/27/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/1/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/1/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/28/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/4/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction
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May 16, 2017 08:03PM kcat2013 wrote:

Let us know how the appointment goes!

34 at diagnosis Dx 8/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 9/4/2013 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 10/25/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/7/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 6/20/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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May 17, 2017 01:18PM leger wrote:

Well, my surgeon said that she was not concerned, that the pain was something I was going to have to live with. She does not want to order any other tests. When I brought up my concern of the broken rib (that I didn't know I broke) her response was that radiation weakened my bones and that it was very common.

I left her office fighting back the tears as I just felt so dismissed. She told me my cancer would not spread as it was not found in the lymph nodes. (as a nurse I know that while that is usually the case, it is not always true)

I called my PCP and she is ordering an xray.

I have to tell you ladies (and perhaps gentlemen) it is so wonderful to have a place to vent with others who understand your concerns/worries / fears/ frustrations etc.

Dx 7/3/2014, LCIS, Left, Grade 2 Dx 7/3/2014, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/30/2014 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Multi-catheter: Breast
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May 17, 2017 03:15PM kcat2013 wrote:

Leger, I'm sorry your surgeon was so dismissive to you about your concerns. Good for you for knowing that she gave you incorrect info regarding not spreading because of negative nodes. I didn't have cancer in my lymph nodes either but my MO wants me to tell her of any new, persistent symptoms and has sent me for scans in the past based on symptoms. I'm glad your PCP is at least starting with an Xray for you. Do you have a rheumatologist?


34 at diagnosis Dx 8/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 9/4/2013 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 10/25/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/7/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 6/20/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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May 18, 2017 10:56PM leger wrote:

Hi Kcat,

I had the chest xray and now it shows a 2nd and 5th rib healing fractures. I have not had any injury or trauma that I can remember.

Yes, I have a rheumatologist. I think I will give her a call tomorrow. I feel neurotic, but I know my body and know when something is not right.

Dx 7/3/2014, LCIS, Left, Grade 2 Dx 7/3/2014, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/30/2014 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Multi-catheter: Breast
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May 18, 2017 11:08PM kcat2013 wrote:

Leger, I would be wanting further answers also! It sounds strange to me for you to not have had any trauma to your ribs, yet multiple fractures! Hopefully your rheumatologist will be able to help you get to the bottom of this. My rheum. has been quite helpful when I've been trying to track down sources of pain, even if they aren't directly related to the RA.


34 at diagnosis Dx 8/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 9/4/2013 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 10/25/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 2/7/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Surgery 6/20/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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May 19, 2017 08:01AM - edited May 19, 2017 08:02AM by Wildplaces

leger,

At the risk of sounding funny you found a twit of a surgeon.

I am confused - let's piece this together - you had BC Mid 2014 followed by radiation.

Radiation when it breaks ribs ( and it's rare especially as it was breast and not chest wall) it does not do that almost three years later. Then the healing part - broken ribs take about 6 weeks to heal and may show up radiologically months on but years on ? Still healing??

Something does not add up - you are right to be concerned.

I would ask for a Bone scan ( I know it's hard to keep advocating while trying to deal with anxiety/fear and pain) - if it RA it will show inflammatory changes but they can be differentiated from something more sinister.

Don't give up - keep knocking until you find the doctor for you.


Dx 8/5/2016, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/12/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 9/11/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 2/20/2017 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 19, 2017 04:04PM Emily2008 wrote:

Wildplaces is correct. Fire that doctor and find another one who will listen to your concerns and ACT upon them. I'm outraged on your behalf! You need a new doctor and a bone scan ordered right away.

Maybe it's nothing, but as a breast cancer patient who has the symptoms you're describing, you absolutely must get better care. Be strong and take care of business. You can do it!

Dx 5/08, IDC, Stage 1, Grade 1, BRCA 2 pos. Mast. w/TRAM and implant, A/C x 4, Tamox. for 6.5 yrs, ooph and hyst in 2010. Dx. 10/16, local recurrence, Grade 2, breast segmentation, 30 rads from Jan-March 2017, then AIs. Dx 5/14/2008, IDC, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 10/31/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 20, 2017 02:57PM KBeee wrote:

I agree with the others. You need a bone scan. Find a doctor who will take you seriously.

My former MO told me, when I had concern about a lump, to ignore it unless "it goes from a grape to a golf ball" because I was not at risk of recurrence. As you can see from my stats, he was 100% wrong. I left there in tears because he was so dismissive and rude. I have never seen him again

Karen. Dx 8/5/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 8/26/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 9/20/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 12/12/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 1/23/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 1/29/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 2/2/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/25/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/25/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 3/31/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/25/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)

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