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All TopicsForum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: Radiation and Rib Pain

Topic: Radiation and Rib Pain

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After — What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Sep 19, 2008 04:49PM, edited Sep 19, 2008 04:50PM by tomatojuice

tomatojuice wrote:

I have had seven rads so far. Everthing is pretty good so far.  Except today I noticed a little rib pain. Has anyone else had this?

Dx 2/26/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/18 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Posts 1 - 26 (26 total)

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Sep 19, 2008 09:44PM vhqh wrote:

I didn't but I have had a sore collar bone, I think Shirlann is one that has rib pain.  There is a name for it that I can't remember, costo- something, but sometimes the tissue around the ribs gets sore.

IDC, er+/pr +, her2 +++, stage IV
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Sep 20, 2008 07:18PM Shirlann wrote:

Oh yes, this can be Costochondritis.  It is inflammation of the meat between the ribs.  It usually occurs a few weeks after rads ends, but you could be an early victim.  Be sure and let your radiation oncologist know, and ask for a lead apron.  They will assure you that "the waves are so accurate, nothing could be touching your body", Well, that is sorta true, but ask for the lead apron anyway, if the waves are so accurate, why do they all scurry out of the room?

I still have a bad rib, 10 years later.  It does not hurt all the time.  But if I reach over the back seat, WOW, I can't even get my breath!  So I would insist on the apron.

Gentle hugs, Shirlann 

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Sep 23, 2008 07:21PM anet wrote:

Dear tomatojuice I had rib  during my radiation and it took a long time for it to go away but it did so dont wory yours will too I hope soon. hang in there my prayers are with you.

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Sep 24, 2008 08:49PM AccidentalTourist wrote:

I had rib pain from the thrid session and was told it had nothing to do with radiation.  I am convinced it was all to do with radiation and hope that it is temporary like Anet's.  If it is any consolation it did not get any worse.

Dx 5/23/2008, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 24, 2008 10:18PM pconn03 wrote:

Tomatojuice:

I so agree with Shirlann, Anet and Nena.

I had radiation in 2003 and I ended up with the worst pain problems.  It lasted for over a period of about 7 months.  I had what I called "attacks," and even ended up in ER once and at a cardiologist another time.  It finally left but as Shirlann said, I still feel some pain/weakness in my left rib.  I don't mean to frighten you and I'm sure mine was an exaggerated case but the short answer is Yes- radiation sure can cause this kind of pain and Yes - the radiation oncologists all say it has nothing to do with the radiation.  Sure!!!!  I was so happy to find out on these boards that others had experienced the same thing - otherwise I would have thought I was nuts!!  :) :)

Remember - it does go eventually.

Hugs,

Pat

Pat
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Sep 25, 2008 09:38AM FEB wrote:

I still have rib pain, mildly, and it has been 9 months since I finished rads. At 6 mo. I went and had a thermograph, and I could not believe how hot my breast still was. I will do another one in  a couple of months. I hope it shows some cooling. At least I feel I have seen proof that the effects of the radiation are still there, and this pain is not a figment of my imagination. By the way, I had very little surface damage.

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Sep 25, 2008 10:31AM jea1013 wrote:

LindaMemm,

This is amazing.  Who could have imaged that the heat would last that long from radiation?  Did you ever get an explanation of why your breast is still hot?  I'm clueless about what the radiation does, I guess, that would last that long!  

Dx 7/7/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 25, 2008 01:01PM FEB wrote:

Jea, I saw for myself on the Thermogram. I am now so afraid of more radiation, that instead of any more mammos I have opted for thermography. I know that it is not accepted by mainstream medicine, but if read by someone who is experienced, as my doctor is, it  can be just as good at detecting tumors. It is basically an infrared camera that takes photos of the breasts and looks for vascular irrregularities to detect cancer. My left, good breast was blue in color, my right was red and orange, showing how hot it still is. What I also like about this is that it is totally painless, and I did not want to get my breast smashed again, since it is so tender. I am not advocating this for anyone else, I just feel it is the right choice for me. A mammo did not find my tumor, I did, so I will continue to check my breasts for any changes, have the therms, and monitor everything else with a doctor I found who is into alternatives. Needless to say, my onc is not happy, but I have no plans to go back to her anyway, unless I absolutely have to because that place is so depressing!

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Sep 25, 2008 01:08PM RIV54 wrote:

I'm 11 months away from my last rads, I stll have rib pain. It's not constant but chronic. I take 800mg or ibuprophen 3x a day for arthritis, so I guess this might be why I don't always feel the rib pain.

Gina
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Sep 25, 2008 03:53PM Shirlann wrote:

Hi lindamemm, my breast was hot for at least 7 months.  I would cup both in my hands and the BC one was HOT.  It was amazing. 

I ASKED for a lead apron, to tuck up under my breast and cover my heart and part of my lung, but was told that there was no need because the rays were so carefully directed they would not touch my body.  Well they did.  I should have insisted.

Hugs, Shirlann

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Sep 25, 2008 04:02PM mumito wrote:

Wow now I am really getting nervous about radiation treatments.  I had heard that it would be a walk in the park compared to chemo.  I am almost finished chemo but have surgery in early nov then I am supose to start radiation treatments.  Now when I visit my rad onc I will be grilling him with all this info.  Thankyou ladies.

Dx 4/23/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/15 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 25, 2008 05:36PM , edited Sep 25, 2008 09:42PM by jea1013

LindaMemm,

This is fascinating about the thermograhy.  I've heard of it but never knew anyone who was doing it.  Please keep us posted on how it goes.   How did you find a doctor who was doing the thermography?  

Dx 7/7/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Sep 27, 2008 06:27AM AccidentalTourist wrote:

Dear LindaMemm,

I also spotted my bc myself and had trouble to convince doctors that there is something there (it was more of a slight change on skin than a lump).  However, now that I have had lumpectomy done there is a certain loss of sensation and although my breast cosmetically looks much better than I though possible I wonder whether there are more changes to come once all the swelling, internal tissue damage settles in.  I am worried that my ability to spot small changes will be therefore compromised.  I am also scared of having a mamogram on the 'bad breast' which still hot and painful.  What I don't understand is how can a doctor doing thermogram distingish an early tumour from all the tissue that is still hot from radiation? 

Dx 5/23/2008, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 27, 2008 08:34AM , edited Sep 27, 2008 08:36AM by FEB

Nena The thermograph does not show a mass like mammos. It shows the vascular system. They look for symmnetry in both breasts to see what is consistant in how the blood flows. Since a tumor has to be fed by extra blood flow, it will show up as having extra feeders running to it. My doc has  a really good website that explains it. Go to drnick.net and check it out. This doctor was recommended to me by my chiropractor. She had met him at some of the seminars she regularly attends.

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Sep 28, 2008 09:16PM AccidentalTourist wrote:

Wow, it looks impressive and in the words of comedy character from 'the Little Britain' 'I want one'.  Now I have to find one in the UK and also convince the NHS (National Health System) doctor to take it seriously which is not going to be an easy taks.   Thanks LindaMemm. 

Dx 5/23/2008, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 14, 2008 05:44AM tracyt3 wrote:

hi,

can you tell me please how your rib pain looks like? i also had left breast cancer diagnosed one year ago, i went through chemo and radiation, 3 months after radiation i started having rib tenderness below my left breast it's just one spot on the rib  that hurts when i press over it and when im lying on my left side, but the pain is mild and do not require any pain killer.It has been 4 months till now that im complaining of this pain. Im afraid that the cancer had come back in my ribs!!

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Oct 14, 2008 10:38AM pdm wrote:

I am also having rib pain and yes the rad onc said it is not from the radiation..ya right...then why did it start when the rads started..also I am getting a lot of burning under my arm...I am doing everything I can to prevent this..any suggestions??

Pat

Dx , Stage IIA, Grade 2, 2/18 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 16, 2008 07:57PM AccidentalTourist wrote:

Just wanted to update you that my rib pain and breast pain in general are getting better all the time.  Even if they stayed as they are I could live with it.  I have a feeling that had doctors explained the pain as a possibility (rather than be all defensive which made me alarmed about what was going on) I would have coped with it better at the time.

Dx 5/23/2008, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 19, 2008 04:47PM LoveEachNewDay wrote:

I've had only 7 treatments but am having rib pain directly under the right side being treated.

Dx 1/4/2008, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 1/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Oct 19, 2008 05:24PM , edited Oct 19, 2008 05:25PM by lastminuteD

I was whining today about not being able to sleep on my mast/axillary dissection/radiation side because of rib pain (I completed rads mid January) and one of the ladies piped up that she still has rib pain 14 years out!  I know things have changed a lot since then but I have not doubt it's from the radiation even if they keep saying they only radiate the boob or foob whichever you have..............................

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 

pdm - ask them for silvadene and then soak in a warm tub, air dry and apply the prescription.  See if that helps you. 

Dawn

THINK HAPPY!!! Dx 12/27/2005, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Dx 3/27/2007, IDC, 3cm, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Oct 20, 2008 10:40AM IllinoisNancy wrote:

I had radiation Jan-Feb, 07.  To this day, I have random rib pain on my left side right where my bra strap hits it.  I talked to my breast surgeon about this and she said it is definitely from rads.  I can't lay on that side without it hurting but luckily I like to sleep on my right side anyway.  The surgeon told me that it's possible that it will always be tender on that side and the radiation is the cause of it.  I'm happy that its manageable and doesn't hurt all the time.

OncotypeDX was 9, Pleomorphic ILC, Breast cancer twice, 10/06 and 10/10,
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Oct 22, 2008 08:53AM climbergirl wrote:

 As a yoga practitioner I have always assumed that the pain on the irradiated side was not the ribs but the intercostal muscles which you need to be working and stretching *especially after radiation*....these little muscles are tight on most people and will be tight on your "good" side as well but you do not notice it because the tissue has not been damaged by radiation. Definitely try some yoga to get into that area. Keeping things stretched and moving on your treated side is key for those muscles to heal in a way that will not be as restrictive...and they will go into spasm and cause pain if they are not worked. Yes it is going to hurt a bit but with work it will not as much.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_intercostal 

 http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/1675 

Good Luck,

climber girl 

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Oct 22, 2008 08:55PM Shirlann wrote:

Well I still have a bad rib 10 years out.  If I work or stretch or do anything like reach around tp the back seat.  But I am still here and I don't want anymore x-rays so what to do?  Just live with it I guess, not too many women have this so long, in fact, very few.

So new gals, don't let this post worry you.

Gentle hugs, Shirlann

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Sep 1, 2010 02:53AM poetjanet wrote:

Hello, decided to do a search on radiation and rib pain; and found your thread here.  I finished rads Dec. 21st, 2010; and just now developed this rib pain; and told it was Costochondritis; alias: rib arthritis.  Didn't dawn on me til several hours later; why just this one side, where I had the breast cancer and radiation.  Low and behold, all of you here complaining of the same pain.  I'm putting up a new post saying we should all be able to have a lead apron to protect our ribs!

Thank you so much for posting everyone!

Dx 8/13/2009, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3
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Sep 2, 2010 09:53AM dcchef wrote:

Hi,  I finished my Mammosite HDR on 6/11/2010.  I started having rib pain shortly after completion.  I have been wearing sports bras ever since.  I was an under wire bra wearer (36A).  I didn't have much to start with!!  When I tried wearing a bra again my rib was really sore.  It took a few days to calm down again.  I am very active and work out most days (run, swim, light weights).  I find when I really stretch I can feel the tightness inside my breast and rib area.  I am seeing my radiation onc next week and will see what he says.  It's nothing I can't live with, but somewhat annoying.  Be well.  dcchef

Dx 5/13/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Apr 14, 2015 04:22PM BarbW wrote:

I finished 7 1/2 weeks of radiation October 2012. I noticed rib tenderness on my right side by Christmas 2012 but not pain. The pain has increased considerably over the past 3+ years. One spot directly under my breast is tender to the touch all the time now. Like Shirlann I can simple rotate my body a certain way, or laugh, or cough, and the pain is absolutely excruciating. It can literally bring me to my knees. I found this old post trying to research rib pain and breast cancer. Insist on an apron.