Shooting pains normal in breast area? Causes?

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Question from MarieA: I am 4 1/2 years cancer-free after mastectomy of left breast and sentinel node biopsy. I had dose-dense chemo and radiation. I still get shooting pains at breast site and it takes my breath away sometimes. Is this normal and what causes it? Thank you.
Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. Sensitivity at the mastectomy site is common and can result from both discomfort at the scar and tenderness at the ribs. This is particularly true following post-mastectomy radiation. Stretching may help, as well as anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin or Aleve, if you are able to take these medications.
Linda Miller I can't overemphasize the importance of continuing stretching long after you've had your breast cancer surgery, especially with mastectomy. The tendency will always be for that skin and pectoral muscle to tighten up, and so stretching 2 to 3 times a week may help relieve some of those long-term chronic symptoms.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called After Surgery: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects featured Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Linda Miller, P.T. answering your questions about short-term and long-term side effects of breast surgery, and what you can do about them.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of 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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