Breast Pain/Swelling

Posted by mjay @mjay, Nov 11, 2021

I had treatment for lobular breast cancer two years ago that included a lumpectomy and radiation, which has caused residual tenderness and a disfigured nipple. I recently had a breast exam by my PCP, and the pressure really irritated the nipple and breast causing pain over two weeks now. I’m due for a MRI and mammogram this month. I am wondering if anyone else experienced this type of issue and whether it was some type of mastitis or ectasia or whether cancer returned to the same breast.
Thanks for your reply.

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Hi @mjay i also had breast conserving surgery, and radiation. I am also disfigured and very tender. When I mention it, my doctor says that, a layer of scar tissue from the radiation with the scar tissue from the surgery underneath can leave them tender. Although that probably is true it isn’t a satisfying answer with no help for it. I do not have prolonged pain from an exam unless it was a rough exam, you know the type, but I do have a constant tenderness. I am glad you are having a mammo, and MRI this month. If there is a problem it will find it and if there isn’t, it will ease your mind. Have you scheduled those tests yet?

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@auntieoakley

Hi @mjay i also had breast conserving surgery, and radiation. I am also disfigured and very tender. When I mention it, my doctor says that, a layer of scar tissue from the radiation with the scar tissue from the surgery underneath can leave them tender. Although that probably is true it isn’t a satisfying answer with no help for it. I do not have prolonged pain from an exam unless it was a rough exam, you know the type, but I do have a constant tenderness. I am glad you are having a mammo, and MRI this month. If there is a problem it will find it and if there isn’t, it will ease your mind. Have you scheduled those tests yet?

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@auntieoakley Ask your physical therapist about using a "swell spot." Mine put in an order to help with the radiation scarring and the lymphedema of the breast which helped greatly. My insurance covers mine and I use it when the pain flares up or the area of radiation hardens up. I also use Arnica cream on my nipple area. Here's a sample of what the swell spots look like: https://www.lymphedemaproducts.com/products/breast-swell-spot.html

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@auntieoakley

Hi @mjay i also had breast conserving surgery, and radiation. I am also disfigured and very tender. When I mention it, my doctor says that, a layer of scar tissue from the radiation with the scar tissue from the surgery underneath can leave them tender. Although that probably is true it isn’t a satisfying answer with no help for it. I do not have prolonged pain from an exam unless it was a rough exam, you know the type, but I do have a constant tenderness. I am glad you are having a mammo, and MRI this month. If there is a problem it will find it and if there isn’t, it will ease your mind. Have you scheduled those tests yet?

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Thanks for your reply. I have a scheduled MRI and a mammogram this month, which I really don't know how I'll get through the mammogram. Thinking about asking for an U/S only after the MRI as the pain may be too great if something doesn't improve soon.

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@trixie1313

@auntieoakley Ask your physical therapist about using a "swell spot." Mine put in an order to help with the radiation scarring and the lymphedema of the breast which helped greatly. My insurance covers mine and I use it when the pain flares up or the area of radiation hardens up. I also use Arnica cream on my nipple area. Here's a sample of what the swell spots look like: https://www.lymphedemaproducts.com/products/breast-swell-spot.html

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Thank you for the suggestion. I don't have a PT, but I guess I can inquire at my appointment. Does this swell spot do anything other than sort of add a layer of protection inside your bra. Part of my problem is the sensitivity of the nipple touching anything….TMI, sorry.

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@mjay

Thank you for the suggestion. I don't have a PT, but I guess I can inquire at my appointment. Does this swell spot do anything other than sort of add a layer of protection inside your bra. Part of my problem is the sensitivity of the nipple touching anything….TMI, sorry.

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@mjay My doctor referred me to the PT. I have Kaiser so it's all inhouse, but my PT specializes in lymphedema, axial webbing, etc. It was she who placed an order for this through a local hospital/medical supply company to get the correct size. The swell spots are sewn so as to help the lymphatic system drain. She also taught me how to do lymphatic massage.

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@mjay i would definitely be thinking about getting an appt. with my doctor after those scan and asking for whatever help I can get with this. You just can’t go on with a really painful nipple. I am feeling your pain.
@trixie1313 thank you for sharing the swell spot. I am intensely curious about product now. How it works and why it works. I am off on a learning quest now.

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@auntieoakley

@mjay i would definitely be thinking about getting an appt. with my doctor after those scan and asking for whatever help I can get with this. You just can’t go on with a really painful nipple. I am feeling your pain.
@trixie1313 thank you for sharing the swell spot. I am intensely curious about product now. How it works and why it works. I am off on a learning quest now.

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@auntieoakley
There is a lot out there on these swell spots/pads. Not just used for breasts but other areas. Look up the lymphatic system, it's really interesting. I mentioned I use Arnica but mixed that up…so sorry; I use Arnica for pain. I use Calendula (by Boiron, homeopathic) cream for the remaining scars around my nipple on the one breast (surgery 3 years ago) and that seems to be calming it down. What patients need to remember is when you have a mastectomy/partial mastectomy, nerves are cut. I had a lot of pain following my surgery as the nerves were re-growing, but it was explained to me by my breast surgeon that that pain could last a lifetime. I count myself lucky that those pains subsided.

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@auntieoakley

@mjay i would definitely be thinking about getting an appt. with my doctor after those scan and asking for whatever help I can get with this. You just can’t go on with a really painful nipple. I am feeling your pain.
@trixie1313 thank you for sharing the swell spot. I am intensely curious about product now. How it works and why it works. I am off on a learning quest now.

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I will definitely pursue solutions after the scans. Some type of plastic surgery has been suggested in the past, but I am reluctant to cause more injury in such a sensitive body part, not to mention scar tissue and healing issues. Thank you.

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@mjay

Thanks for your reply. I have a scheduled MRI and a mammogram this month, which I really don't know how I'll get through the mammogram. Thinking about asking for an U/S only after the MRI as the pain may be too great if something doesn't improve soon.

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@mjay8
I had to have a mammogram about a month after my mastectomy and my breast was so painful. The tech told me instead of the automatic clamp down of the machine, she would wind it down slowly as far as I could stand it. Since that time, I have asked the techs to do the same thing and it makes all the difference in having my mammograms done. Explain to your mammogram tech the pain involved and ask this be handled different from the norm.

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@trixie1313

@mjay8
I had to have a mammogram about a month after my mastectomy and my breast was so painful. The tech told me instead of the automatic clamp down of the machine, she would wind it down slowly as far as I could stand it. Since that time, I have asked the techs to do the same thing and it makes all the difference in having my mammograms done. Explain to your mammogram tech the pain involved and ask this be handled different from the norm.

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Great information to share thanks for that I’m due for a mammogram next month it’s helpful to know that

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@mjay I just thought I would check in with you. See how you were feeling. Have you had your scans yet? Did your address the sensitivity, and swellings issues? Did you get the mammogram or the U/S and MRI?

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@auntieoakley

@mjay I just thought I would check in with you. See how you were feeling. Have you had your scans yet? Did your address the sensitivity, and swellings issues? Did you get the mammogram or the U/S and MRI?

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Hello Chris! Thanks for your concern. MRI came back benign last week..yay…although I still have the pain and discomfort. I have a mammogram this week, and I don't know how I'll get through that torture device! Hopefully all goes well and the pain is just a symptom of the poor scar healing and the disfigurement after surgery. I'll be discussing further with my doctor my options next week. Thanksgiving Blessings to you!

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