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Topic: Advice Re Weight Training with expanders post radiation

Forum: Working on Your Fitness —

Conversations about exercise, diet, and getting back in shape after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Posted on: Mar 12, 2017 12:57PM

kscinsocal wrote:


Looking for advice from anyone who has had a similar experience/problem. I am 49 and very active before diagnosis. Orangetheory 4 x per week - involves heart rate training between running on a tread, rowing and floor work with weights and TRX. I was diagnosed last April then underwent 6 rounds of chemo finished in Aug. 2016 followed by a double mastectomy with expander reconstruction in Sept. 2016. I was a C cup before and told PS that is what I wanted to end up with. I then started radiation in November and had such terrible pec and axiallary pain, I was placed on a 2. 1/2 week break and finished rads January 19, 2017. I continue to have a lot of pain due to inflammation and fibrosis from the radiation and was referred and am under management by a pain management specialist. I am also in PT. My range of motion is normal. I continue to workout (as I did throughout treatment except for break after surgery), and pain is reasonably controlled provided I do not engage my right/radiated pec. Issue is only in my right right/ radiated breast. Anyone else who lifts have such a problem with expanders and radiation? Any advice? Did you return to normal after exchange


Dx. 4/2016, IDC, Right x 2, 4.5 cm and 2 cm., Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2 nodes, ER+, PR+, HER2-, Chemotherapy: 5/11/16- 6 cycles Cytoxan and Taxotere to end 8/24/2016, Surgery: October, 2016 to be followed by Radiation and Hormonal Therapy
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Mar 12, 2017 03:19PM Jenwith4kids wrote:

Hi ksc,

So much will change after exchange surgery!! I had expanders and radiation - I wasn't working out at all before my exchange surgery - aside from running. Since then, though, I have started The Max Challenge (similar to Orangetheory, sort of) - I've been there a year - five days a week - at least one of them upper body weight training. No issues whatsoever.

My exchange surgery was one of the easiest parts of this whole ordeal (my ooph being a close second).

I hope that helps!


So many changes since 1/8/2014 - Much good has come from the bad, and I do remember to allow myself the fact that "it's okay to not be okay". Looking forward to having this further and further behind me each day. Dx 1/9/2014, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 5/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/13/2014 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 2/13/2014 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/13/2014 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 3/19/2014 AC Chemotherapy 5/14/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 9/1/2014 Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 9/7/2014 Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 9/11/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 3/4/2015 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/26/2015 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Mar 12, 2017 06:21PM littleblueflowers wrote:

Im so glad you posted this! I too have been working my upper body with expanders in, and my radiated side is so painful it hurts to laugh or sneeze. I thouht i was having a heart attack at the climbing gym the other day lol. Luckily my brother is a MD, and he was climbing with me- nope, not broken ribs and not a heart attack, just sore. No advice, but much compassion. It sux big time.

If it stops the nightmares, it probably won't kill me Dx 3/9/2015, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 2/16 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 3/9/2015 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy Lymph nodes Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol)
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Mar 19, 2017 12:50PM kscinsocal wrote:

Jenwith4kids- thanks. I can't wait for my exchange and to get the expanders out. I am only two months post rads so I have a little ways to go. Were you able to run during and in the few months after radiation with the expanders? Anytime I run or jar the pec, I get horrible pain spikes. I can't even cook or use the arm much on the radiated side.

Littleblueflowers- thanks also for your response. Was your pain brought on with movement or while you were at rest as well? Best of luck to you.

Dx. 4/2016, IDC, Right x 2, 4.5 cm and 2 cm., Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2 nodes, ER+, PR+, HER2-, Chemotherapy: 5/11/16- 6 cycles Cytoxan and Taxotere to end 8/24/2016, Surgery: October, 2016 to be followed by Radiation and Hormonal Therapy
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Mar 4, 2020 07:32PM Lauramv wrote:

I am looking for same answers! Used to do boot camp pre cancer diagnosis. Have double expanders, and just finished radiation. Tried getting back to upper body weights exercises, but now chest and back pain on radiated side! So do most just wait until after expanders removed to do upper body weights again? wont have DIEP flap surgery until summer.

Dx 9/30/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 12/17/2019 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 2/19/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Mar 5, 2020 12:14AM MinusTwo wrote:

Laura - start VERY slow with weights. Like if you were doing 20 lbs, try 2 lbs. You have to work back up to it

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014

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