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Topic: Itching in lymphedema arm and breast

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Sep 26, 2020 09:40AM

Royalmama wrote:

hello all. I just joined this group. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Had lumpectomy, full axillary clearance then chemo and rads . I developed lymphedema in my left arm very soon after and have had swelling issues with my affected breast too. My lymphedema has more or less been under control. I had cellulitis three times in about 4.5 years . Just recently I got an infection and was given antibiotics. It was clearly an infection from the blood tests though I didn't have a fever. Now as the infection is pretty much cleared and I finish my antibiotics course, it is the itching that is very new. I've never had itching in my arm and breast before. The swelling is under control ( exercises, compression sleeve, etc) but the stinging and itching are bothering me. I use moisturizer , so no dryness but the skin is tight .

can anybody else relate? Have you had a similar situation?

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Sep 26, 2020 03:08PM - edited Sep 27, 2020 07:11AM by Moderators

Hi Royalmama,

Sorry to hear what you're going through. There are several types of skin infections -possibly associated with the lymphedema- that may also be causing this? Have you spoken with your physician about that, and possibly creams/ointments that could help?

Please keep us posted.


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Sep 26, 2020 11:33PM Royalmama wrote:

hi. They seem to think its due to the accumulation of liquid but I am not so sure.

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Sep 27, 2020 05:08AM Rah2464 wrote:

Royalmama hoping someone with more experience will answer your question. What are your doctors saying about the stinging and itching? To me I would be concerned the infection was not entirely clear. My lymphedema can cause nagging discomfort/pain (like a toothache maybe) but I haven't had the itching feeling. However, I have never had a cellulitis issue, just swelling.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 27, 2020 07:13AM Moderators wrote:

Royalmama, It seems best to consult with your doctor(s) again, since it's persisting and it's so uncomfortable.

We hope you get this cleared up. Keep us posted!

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Sep 27, 2020 08:25AM SoulShine1969 wrote:


I’m so sorry that you’re having trouble with lymphedema and infection. I have mild lymphedema in my arm and breast. I have chronic mild to extreme itching particularly on the breast and upper under arm area. It’s a stinging painful itching sensation that is deeper than the skin layer and it’s so annoying. Because you recently had an infection I think you should check back with your doctor just to be safe.

Surgery 10/14/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 12/30/2013 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 2/18/2015, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/14 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 3/30/2015 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 5/2/2015 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 11/4/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
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Sep 27, 2020 11:59AM - edited Sep 27, 2020 12:02PM by Royalmama

hi thanks for taking the time and responding everybody The doctors seem to think it was due to the skin being taut. I just completed the antibiotics course and the itching has subsided. I'll be monitoring things in the meantime.

I am starting a new set of physiotherapy sessions soon to help with the tightness. I was doing so well before this infection!

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Sep 27, 2020 12:04PM Royalmama wrote:

soulshine, that is exactly how I would describe the sensation I was having ( still lingering in my breast now) !!

The infection has been treated, so j guess this is as I have been told due to the skin being taut ?? Dunno but as you described, it seems way deeper inside!

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Sep 27, 2020 02:34PM MinusTwo wrote:

Royalmama - if you haven't been evaluated & measured by a certified, trained lymphadema therapist - it's important to have that done. Many docs don't know much about LE and don't think referrals necessary. LE can appear at any time - even up to 25 years later. Even if you have, maybe it's time for refresher training in LE massage. I try to go back once a year so the LEPT can correct what I may be doing wrong and learn about any new developments. Yes, you can feel lymph issues deep inside. Below is a link that may help with information, and with finding someone in your area who is trained.

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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Sep 27, 2020 11:15PM Royalmama wrote:

thanks MinusTwo !

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Sep 30, 2020 10:36PM hugz4u wrote:

Yes I occasionally get same itch as soulshine.
It comes and goes maybe once a month and is not dry skin. I try not to scratch it as soon as I recognize what it is. Otherwise it will drive you crazy.

It’s definitely under skin and lymphedema involved and mine is not an infection because I’ve had that same itch for a few years

Usually goes away in a day if I don’t start the itch response by scratching.

I think it’s a bit of swelling and fluid and mine is usually in very top part of breasts towards armpit including prophylactic side

I also get itchy from sleeve glue but that’s a chemical reaction. Weird but all glue is made by same company with different names on it I was told. Yet Amoena brand doesn’t itch.

Yup they discontinued here in my country. Can’t win.

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