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rib pain

madsters1
Posts: 120
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi all, I haven't been on in a long while, but am in need of some input from you all.

I have had sore ribs for over two weeks now. I started out just thinking it was whatever and that it would go away. I can't think of anything I've done to cause it. The pain is on my left side, the same side as my BC which I finished treatment for in May 2012. It was lumpectomy, chemo and rads. So my ribs feel bruised and I've also noticed an increasingly more painful spot just below my rib. It is tender to any touch and has a bit of a burning sensation. Of course as you all have experienced, I can't get it completely off of my mind. I have an appointment with my onc on Tuesday which is my three month checkup. It's gonna be a bit of a long weekend.

My worst case scenario is of course that it's bone mets! Anyone have any thoughts? Thanks so much.

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 3983
Joined: Oct 2009

There can be many causes of rib pain.  I don't know your age, but, with the burning, shingles comes to my mind immediately.  And shingles can last for weeks.  Look carefully for any sign of a rash--although there are cases of shingles where a rash never appears.  Shingles pain will usually always be on only one side of your body and will follow the nerve and can "wrap" from front to back (or back to front).

I have had bone mets to the ribs.  I don't know why but the ribs that have the mets are on the opposite side of my original tumor.  My pain started as soreness and slowly progressed to persistent pain, worse at night.  What was confusing to me is that the pain would sometimes disappear for a few weeks, but then come back worse.  Later I read that that is fairly typical of bone mets.  To me, it begin to feel as if something (pressure) was pushing from within.  I remember describing my pain as feeling like an alien was inside of my chest.

Inititially, when the pain started, I had an Xray, bone scan, PET scan and my markers drawn.  The Xray and bone scan showed fractures.  PET said there was increased uptake in the ribs, but we weren't sure if that was due to fractures or cancer.  It was a very confusing time because Hurricane Katrina had just hit and I was moving furniture and boxes.  BTW, my markers were normal.

Then 2-3 years later, a repeat bone scan called it mets, my markers were very elevated and, finally, a biopsy showed breast cancer in ribs.

I share this, not to scare you, but because I believe knowledge is power.  I have been in remission again for 3 years this April and am doing very well.  Don't freak, but don't ignore any persistent symptom.  Big hugs and prayers that this is nothing serious!

P.S. Fairly recently, I thought I was having a recurrence because pain was so bad in the ribs again.  This time it WAS shingles and not cancer.

ladyg's picture
ladyg
Posts: 1577
Joined: Apr 2010

type of rib soreness. I was also concerned about what it might be. As I went to all of my doctors for my post treatment check ups I got the same answer. It was caused by the radiation. I even had x-rays done to make sure there were no cracked bones. The only time it bothers me now is when I actually touch the spot. Then it feels like I am touching a bruise. Try not to worry too much until you get in to see your onc.

Hugs,

Georgia

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