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How long does the pain last after a mastectomy?

Posts: 107
Joined: Sep 2012

I had a mastectomy on my left breast on 11/5/2012 they put in two drains. They took out the last drain a week ago on 11/27/2012. I am still having a lot of pain in my breast bone, in the breast area under my arm,in my arm and around to my back. I haven't heard anyone mention pain. I also wonder about any type of follow up treatment. My surgeon said probably not, but I meet up with the oncologist Tuesday. Should I ask about doing follow up or not. I had Angiosarcoma cancer from radiation treatments on cancer 5 years ago. they done another lumpectomy thinking they had it all, two and a half months the cancer was back. Then they did the mastectomy. This is three times. Should I have some type of follow up treatment? Not sure what to do. Thank you.

salls41's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

about your pain? I am sorry youu are dealing with this. I had a bi lateral mastectomy and did not have too much pain other than trying to get out of a chair or off the potty.. no constant pain. I think you check with him/her about this. I am sorry I can not answer your questions, but again get this information from your doctor.. if they say no, ask why no follow up treatment..be satisfied with ALL your answers before you leave the office. Good luck. I hope you start to feel better soon.

Posts: 107
Joined: Sep 2012

My pain is a little better it was in my neck and the collar bone and my arm. I9 can use them fine my range of motion is great I CAN Move my arm ok. I could be expecting it to fast.

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I had a bilateral Jan 2010. Did your surgeon or the nurses give you some exercises to do? Surprisingly they actually helped my pain. If they didn't give you exercises ask to see a physical therapist, they will certainly be able to help you get your range of motion back and eliminate some pain. In my case, the exercises were very gentle stretches.

Definitely ask about follow up. You should always be able to get questions answered...remember you pay for this service, they work for you! Some common protocols for follow up are regular visits (once every 3 or 6 months), maybe blood tests, maybe additional scans.

Every time I see my onc, I always have a list of questions. That way I don't forget to ask anything. And I often bring someone with me, a second set of ears can be helpful.

Best wishes. Come back and let us know how you are doing.



CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I had pain for about six weeks to 2 months. The pain was not continual. if you are having terrible pain all day long, please call your physician, but, if your pain is very slowly getting better, it may be normal.

Mostly, for me, the pain was bad at night or when I was very active. I do remember taking a pain med in the evening for quite awhile, but mostly able to get by with advil during the day.

Pain 101 (this is from nursing school);

As Linda pointed out, you heal faster if you move more. Take your pain med (prescription or advil or tylenol), wait about 15-20 min and then get up and take a walk (not a marathon though).

Pain meds work best on mild to moderate pain, so do not wait until your pain is severe to take something. If you do, it is very hard to manage your pain and you will end up taking more meds with a less effective result. You have to anticipate pain too. For example, if you know you are going to do an activity that may cause pain, take something ahead of time. Pain is worse at night (probably related to prostaglandin levels). Pain meds are prescribed not just to make you comfortable; they are prescribed because they make you more active and acivity=healing faster.

Contact Reach to Recovery (with you surgeon's ok, of course). They will send out a trained person who teaches you very mild but effective exercises (such as climbing your fingers up a wall) that promote healing and do help with pain. They helped me sooo much! If you call your local ACS, they can put you in contact with a volunteer. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/supportprogramsservices/reach-to-recovery

I believe that, with your described history, you will need folow up and your oncologist can do this. Some surgeons will follow you for awhile, but your oncologist would be the one to order scans and tests to monitor your progress.

Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

Document EXACTLY what type of pain you have and what part of the body you feel it and when/how often you feel it (sharp, pulling, tightness, heaviness, numb but hurting,zaps,burning sensations,feeling like a rubber band around an area,skin hypersensitivity). There are many types of pain and describing in the most detail you can will help your surgeon determine what could be causing it and prescribe the right medication.That is what I had to do to get my breast surgeon to pay attention to the pain I was having.

Another thing...Did you have reconstruction and did you have any lymph nodes taken out?

The surgeon who did my double mastectomy with node removal check me at regular intervals for almost a year.

Posts: 107
Joined: Sep 2012

The pain was sharp and going down my collar bone to my arm. Now it feels heavy in my chest. I had the tubes in just about the whole month. they where putting out a lot of liquid when he took them out. He said he may have to drain the site with a needle when I Go Back.

Posts: 88
Joined: Dec 2012

I had my breast removed about the same time I still have some pain.Exercise does help.
I consider having a lumpectomy but I could not sleep for many night the day of my surgery I told them I wanted the breast removed I am glad I did.

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