Cramping pain normal in lumpectomy area?


Question from Clarice: I had a lumpectomy 5 years ago and am still experiencing pain in that area -- more like cramping that literally takes my breath away sometimes. My doctor’s standard reply has been the very false statement, "We're never concerned with pain in the breast because breast cancer isn't painful." Is this cramping-type pain normal or should I try to find another doctor?
Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. Again, pain at the lumpectomy site where scar tissue has formed from both surgery and radiation is very common, and in the vast majority of cases doesn't represent a problem outside of discomfort. Still, evaluation of that area is possible, not only with a good digital mammogram and physical exam but also ultrasound or breast MRI. While pain in the breast is not the most common symptom related to cancer, for someone who has significant pain, this may be an indication that denser scar tissue has formed and some limitations in screening may exist. So breast MRI may be a good adjunct to standard screening.

On Wednesday, May 21, 2008, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called After Surgery: Short-term and Long-term Effects. Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Linda Miller, P.T. answered your questions about short-term and long-term side effects of breast surgery, and what you can do about them.

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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