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Topic: painful breast 2 years after partial mastectomy

Forum: Pain —

Share important questions and provide support to others experiencing breast cancer and treatment-related pain.

Posted on: Jun 5, 2012 01:25PM

leyhas wrote:

Hi everyone, im new to this but I am thrilled I found you all.  I am 40 yrs old and 2 years ago I had my first mammogram return bad results.  I had those microcalcifications in my left breast.  I was beyond hysterical but now after everything is over and Im healthy I am so relieved and happy I insisted on a mammogram at 38 years old.  My concern is first, Although I have heard this is normal by medical staff,  I have pain and tenderness in this breast.  Its not constant but sometimes I will feel a sharp shooting pain that will qickly go away and other times if my children bump me or something like it, I just cant believe how sore it still feels.  Has anyone else experienced this?  Also, do these atypical cells increase my risk for cancer?  I have nursed all six of my children until each was 2 or 3 years old so I foolishly thought this couldnt happen to me.  I also had many incidences of mastitis while nursing so I wonder if that contributed to the cells forming. I also have had many bad pap smears and surgery to remove cells on my cervix.  Im just afraid for what the future could bring...   One last thing, I think we women need to start a revolution to STOP the STEREOTACTIC procedure without anesthetia.  It was the MOST PAINFUL experience of my life and absolutely barbaric!  I was not fully informed what exactly takes place before hand and I just want to tell those facing this that they dont have to endure this procedure like I did, its not fair and unnecessary in this day in age!   I know I sound like a big baby here but I really feel I have a high pain tolerance in general, I just am alittle concerned.

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Jun 5, 2012 01:56PM glostagirl wrote:

Leyhas, Welcome to the best breast cancer resource on the net! So sorry for the circumstances that brought you to us but now that you're here, you're in good hands.  

Any one who's given birth to 6 children surely has a high pain threshold!

I had a lumpectomy before mastectomy and did find I had similar pain issues, I'm not a medical professional but would guess that it may be nerve damage, which does take a long time to heal.  

You'll have to be diligent regarding your self exams and medical checkups for the rest of your life.  The best advice I can give is to know your own body, take note when ever something feels different or not quite right and have it checked out.  

You didn't say if you'd had any kind of reconstruction, so I don't know if that's an issue, as this type of pain can associated with tissue expanders or implants.  Perhaps others will chime in. 

All the best to you. 

...."We must see all scars as beauty. ....Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." Chris Cleave, Little Bee Dx 1/5/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 2/21/2008 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 3/26/2009 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): IGAP flap Surgery 6/19/2012 Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Surgery 11/13/2012 Reconstruction (right)
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Jun 5, 2012 03:24PM tlew wrote:

I couldnt agree with you more on those painful stereotactic biopsy. Although I had anesthetia and its still hurts, I can't imagine how you felt without it. I'm waiting for my surgery date which is tommorrow. I had my stereotactic 5 weeks and its been on and off pain, very annoying.

Dx 4/2012, ILC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+
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Jun 5, 2012 05:55PM leyhas wrote:

Im so glad to here im not the only one.   I can tell you that my partial mastectomy surgery was a piece of cake.  I was very worried about it, i had never been under general anestethia before and didnt know what to expect.  It was virtually painless and fast and I was home hours later with no pain. I had pain (like I do today)  days after the surgery but it was and is more of a nuisance than anything else.  Dont worry its nothing like the stereo!!   Good Luck to you...Let us know how it goes and how you are feeling!

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Jun 25, 2012 12:59PM - edited Jun 25, 2012 01:00PM by Rosemary1049

hi i am also glad to have found this forum.  I had a lumpectomy plus 6 lymphnodes removed in 2008  plus 16 radiation treatments and so far so good . I have continued to go to after care appointments and mammograms.  My only complaint is that I have tenderness in the breast(feels like a bruise when pressed)  and a feeling that there is hardened tissue under the breast.  After 4 years , I thought this would go away but my last mammo was the most painful I have had since the surgery.  Breast exams from the nurse are also very painful.  I think that this will be a lifelong nuisance but tolerable.  Think of the alternative.  I take Arimidex and have had painful muscles and muscle cramps as well .  One more year to go for the meds so I hope that part will get better.  Does anyone have a similar story.

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Jun 28, 2012 04:31AM linali wrote:


just seen this forum. I am 2 years post surgery, wide local excision and have had pain that has got worse over the years.

Have tried pain meds and patches and now have been to a pain clinic. The consultant did say that some surgeons etc do not take the pain seriously. He prescribed lyrica which I know has side effects but I will persevere for a while and is to do a procedure on my shoulder to help with pain and immobility.

I also had a reaction to the rads and after visits to a dermatologist and gp for over a year saw my radiotherapy consult this week. I had pain too and limited use of my arm,with a swelling sensation in my breast and underarm. Eventually got my breast nurse to refer me to lymphadoema.

It seems that once the cancer is " under control " the medical teams arent pro active re any long term side effects.

The cancer support centre that I go to is thinking of running a survey on breast pain after cancer treatment as it seems to be an issue that is more common than the medics think. 

lindsay Dx 6/10/2010, DCIS, 2cm, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jun 28, 2012 02:15PM AnnieBear wrote:

Hi!  I had a lumpectomy exactly two years ago and my boob still hurts.  The doctor said it could take years before it stops hurting.  It doesn't hurt all the time but everyone in a while it aches or sharp pains go through it.  I had a stereotactic biopsy and I didn't think it was that big of a deal.  But everyone is different.  My sister and I both had our tubes tied and she was in bed for a week and she's the athletic one who also had three kids.  I had no kids, not particularly athletic and I was up and running the next day. 

Dx 4/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 28, 2012 02:39PM annie-2 wrote:

8 YRS. OUT -had lumpectomy/rads - and my breast is STILL VERY TENDER AND PAINFUL. The swelling has also not gone all the way down... have some LE there plus truncal and that can make it painful. Also, my scar is on the top inner side which allows the pull of the breast to make it worse. I have ridges and areas of thickened tissue. The thick areas are worse if my bra binds any where near them. Being fitted by a bra specialist helped a lot.

Mammograms are very painful as is the Dr's exam. I've had multiple biopsies since 04 and they all came back inflammation from radiation and LE.

MLD for LE helps the breast some, and wearing a stretchy sports bra helps. My Dr. told me it will probably always be this way.

Not fun but it is not cancer. Just wanted to let you know you are not the only one and this is fairly normal for lumpectomies.


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Jun 30, 2012 01:25PM bluepearl wrote:

Both surgery and radiation can harm nerves; mastectomy/lumpectomy with node removal especially. Most of the time, pain goes away. The good news is that they are developing ways and means to address nerve pain that are better than current meds. nerve regeneration being one of them. Sometimes the pain can disappear after a long time or settle down. Sometimes plastic surgeons can help....scar tissue called adhesions AND nerve bundles can be the sources of pain. While I don't like my own pain, it is now tolerable and I think that so many others suffer from arthritis, I'll just think of mine as that, rather than a constant reminder of having had cancer.

Dx 1/6/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/11/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Dx 2/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/9/2013 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 3/17/2013
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Jul 11, 2012 04:09PM chemoangel wrote:

I have the same issues...for me it's been 3 years now. I am going for my Mammogram and Ultrasound on Friday. Crossing my fingers. I still can't sleep on my stomach, and also get those "phantom pains"...sudden "lightning bolt" pain. He has said the same thing to me...scar tissue. 

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay then it's not the end"
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Aug 3, 2012 08:43PM LWA wrote:

Right after my lumpectomy in 12/11, there was excruciating pain if the breast was touched or bumped, but once that went away, it was absolutely pain free, and the mammogram I had at six months was also (weirdly) painless. However, about three weeks ago, possibly at PMS time (uterus has been removed), the breast began to hurt, along with the other one. The other one felt better after a week, but the one that underwent surgery still hurts, not all the time, by any means, but sometimes quite severely.

When I still had my uterus, I'd sometimes bleed for as long as seven weeks, due to unopposed estrogen. I'm speculating that if I did still have my uterus, I might right now be having one of those astronomically long periods; maybe that's why the breast still hurts.

I called my surgeon and he said he suspected the pain was due to monthly hormonal surge, though he says they don’t know why hormones cause extra pain in breasts that have undergone surgery. This appears to be a known phenomenon. He also said that breasts that have undergone surgery and radiation can have flare-ups of pain. He said if it still hurt in a week, to call him back, so I've left him a message. I'm going to ask him how long the pain could potentially last and how severe it could be, just to get his thoughts there, and I'm also curious to know if this heightens the risk of recurrence--does anyone here know anything about that?


Age 49 at diagnosis. Lumpectomy and intraoperative radiation (IORT), December 2011. Dx 12/7/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Feb 7, 2018 09:52AM Jodimac wrote:

hi I have been searching for some information to see if anyone else has had pain and uncomfortable feeling come back 2 years after surgery! Had a double mastectomy and implants after having cancer..

it’s been over a year since my last ultrasound and am booked for another in a week.. my mind has started finding answers!

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Aug 13, 2018 01:18AM Mrs723 wrote:

Hi All,

It's been 2 years since my bilateral mastectomy. Just this week I've had this pain in my right breast area, sometimes it's quite uncomfortable. I have implants so it's hard to examine myself but I do it religiously every month. This pain has been pretty consistent the last few days and it's got me a little freaked out. I've had other little sharp pains come and go but this is going on for quite a while now. It's only on the one side and the pain tends to travel a little too but goes back to the same area. Has anyone had this experience? Thanks in advance for any feedback 😀.

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Aug 13, 2018 12:38PM Moderators wrote:

Hi Mrs723, and welcome to our community.

If it continues, you may consider just getting it checked out by your doctor, for ease of mind. Hopefully others can chime in.

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