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Topic: Could I have shingles?

Forum: Managing Side Effects of Breast Cancer and Its Treatment —

This is a place to discuss concerns, tips and strategies for all types of side effects from all types of medications and treatments, (chemo/rads/hormonal/targeted/pain meds/etc.

Posted on: Feb 28, 2008 11:03AM

hopefor30 wrote:

I am now 1 week past stage II diep -- diagnosed in July '07 with stage 1 (3mm), grade 1, pure tubular, no nodes, and had clean bone scan in August.

Lately I have noticed that there is a small area on my back near my bra strap that is tender to the touch -- there is also a slight rash -- small red dots -- but not blisters --  sometimes a little itchy, but  not bad.    I am worried it is a rib, but it doesn't really feel like bone pain.  It does not jurt when I move or breathe, just when touched.   Anyone else had any experience with this?   I can't get into see my onc for another 2 weeks -- she is on vacation -- she said not to worry, but of course I will.


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Feb 28, 2008 11:27AM LittleFlower wrote:


I developed shingles during radiation treatment.  it started very similarly to what you describe... couple of small vesicles, itchy....why don't you see your pcp to rule out shingles?  if it is shingles it is really best treated if treated in the first 72 hours.  If it's just a rash, than it's just a rash.  if you're concerned about shingles, have it checked out.


Dx 6/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/18 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Feb 28, 2008 11:42AM LisaSDCA wrote:

If the rash crosses the midline of your back it is NOT shingles. If it's all on one side of the spine, it might be. Shingles usually hurts pretty badly. Your primary physician is the one to see - unless you've got a dermatologist.


Stage IV mets to brain 11/2008 BRCA-1 positive Dx 1/24/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 28, 2008 11:49AM hopefor30 wrote:

Thanks, I'll try my PCP -- she's busy though and hard to get in -- I am worried it is rib pain and worried it's a bone --that's why I called my onc -- but I think it would hurt more -- the rash is only on one side though --


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Mar 1, 2008 11:01AM hopefor30 wrote:

Well, now I feel worse -- I did call my PCP - couldn't get in to see her, but saw her partner -- very nice doctor -- sent me for a chest/rib xray -- it was incredibly stressful -- spent half the time crying -- was finally told that xray was fine -- showed nothing wrong with lungs or ribs.....so I went home...

The next morning the doctor called me back -- wanted me to rush out and have a CAT scan done -- she had set it all up so I could get the results right away -- she kept going on about my lungs -- and asking if I had any trouble breathing or shortness of breath -- which I don't ---   I refused the CAT scan because I would rather have it done by my onc -- who is on vacation and who told me not to be worried about the pain I am having -- and will see me in a few weeks anyway --

Now I am worried I have mets....this disease really sucks....


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Mar 7, 2008 09:53AM peachy49 wrote:

Sorry your having so much stress. Stress is the number 2 cause of shingles (chicken pox herpes 8 virus) to be reactivated. Number one cause is low functioning immune system usually brought on by chemo or more stress. I have recurring shingles on my hip. It is usually preceded by a severe headache, fatigue, weakness and fever. Then come the 2 or 3 red itchy marks (i first thought it was spider bites), then they blister up and I am miserable. However, if I recognize the headache or the nerve pain that precedes the outbreak, I start Acyclovir 800mg 3x a day, and that shortens the course of the disease by about 4-5 days.. You and I have similar dx's. I have pure tubular, stage 1 disease. Had lumpectomy and radiation. I noticed that I had more shingles during the yr just following my dx, hence the idea that stress is a cause of reactivation..

Try to get to your PCP or an infectious disease doctor.. they are really the ones to diagnose shingles and treat it properly..


¤PeachyMarie§¤ "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Mother Teresa Dx 8/31/2006, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 8, 2008 08:43AM kitkat123 wrote:

I got shingles a week after finishing my radiation treatments.  They do not have to hurt, mine itched like a rash. It was on my neck right above the area that was radiated. 

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Mar 8, 2008 08:50AM chemosabi wrote:

Mamhop:  Please check in and let us know how you are doing.

Nicki (aka chemosabi)

Waving hello to everyone
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Mar 8, 2008 08:58AM blackjack wrote:


I had a bad rash during my rads tx which extended to my chest, neck and face area. I was put on prednisone and given cream by my dem md. Then I developed left side rib pain..went for a CT and found out that I have left upper lung damage due to rads. Had left side bc..so now I am on inhalers as needed.

As for shingles which is a form of adult chicken pox's.. can be very painful as it follow the nerve tracks in your body. They are very red, itchy and scaly and is usually found on the back and along the sides of the chest. They can give you meds to help with this.

I would suggest if you can to call you md and talk with him/her about this. 

I hope you are feeling better soon.


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Mar 24, 2008 12:45AM tassiemum wrote:

I've just been surfing sites to see what chicken pox on radiation scar could mean(if anything).I've had my left breast ( now known to one and all as Leftie) treated for tubular cancer, 8 weeks of radiation following conservative surgery. 3 days ago I started to get what I thought were small bites. These so called bites have spread but are mainly contained to the dark tanned patch left by the radiation.being a public holiday I went to accident emergency to have it checked as its now rather ithchy and burning slightly. Yes...... they said it was chicken pox, Leftie has a week off work and naturally I'll be staying home as well  :) 

I'm not sure if I should see my GP or make a call to my onc?

The doc at accident emergency said the way of thinking "used to be" that this kind of thing meant something was going on in the breast and I may have to have my next mammogram sooner rather than later?????

I do feel a tad better after having read the coments from you guys.

I'm thinking maybe its just a low immune system thing, I'll get over it and back to normal :)

I'll ring my onc if it gets worse.

thank you all xxx

Mamhop  hope all is well for you xxx 

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Mar 24, 2008 03:59AM hopefor30 wrote:

Well, as I mentioned, I did go to my PCP, but she was the one who panicked and wanted me to have a CAT scan of my chest. --

Went to see my onc last week (she had been on vacation) and prior to my appointment I emailed her some pictures of the rash (I knew it would be gone by the time I got there...)

She was pretty sure it was shingles, and my breast surgeon, who I also saw that day said they are seeing more shingles post surgery this year -- didn't know why.  

So, now I feel much better.   The pain is gone and so is the rash, so hopefully it will not come back. 

So, although you would think my PCP could diagnose shingles, that wasn't the case.  Maybe I need a new PCP ---


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Mar 24, 2008 06:45PM ophelia wrote:

Glad to hear your shingles have cleared up. Hoping the stay away for good.

Did you get an answer to whether or not nipple creation with reduce the size of your breast?  I'm wonder about that myself.

Take care... Think Spring!!!Cool

Maria Dx LCIS, Stage 0, 0/2 nodes

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