Why is there so much pain after lumpectomy?

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Question from Jenn: I have recently had a lump removed, and it came back showing three different types of cancer. Now I face a mastectomy, but as I wait, I am in a lot of deep pain with my breast and a prickly pain around the nipple area. Why?
Answers - Ann Berger It's probably a fluid or blood collection around the site of the lumpectomy, and some inflammation.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. The collection can put pressure on the nerve and the surrounding tissues that can be uncomfortable.
Ann Berger Another thing is that, in general, most women don't feel their breasts except for perhaps during their cycle. That was true for me. Then during all of this, you start feeling sensations you've never felt before. This is normal. Some of it is probably psychological. Some is probably due to the lumpectomy and inflammation, and some sensations come up because you're noticing things with a problem you never thought of before.

There is sometimes breast discomfort and a normal sensation as if the breast were there after mastectomy, particularly during your cycle. I personally experienced that. I initially thought it was crazy with no breast tissue. I never felt my breasts during my cycles. Now I have discomfort as if there were breasts there. It's only during a cycle. When I asked my oncologist colleague, she said she hears this a fair amount. So it could be a hormonal thing.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Breast Cancer Pain featured Ann Berger, R.N., M.S.N., M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about managing pain caused by breast cancer and breast cancer treatments.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2002.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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