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Shoulder Pain Associated With Breast Cancer

Coping With Breast Pain

Post-Surgery Shoulder Care – Westmead Breast Cancer Institute

Breast pain can be very distressing, and many women worry that they may have breast cancer. In most cases breast pain will be the result of normal changes in the breasts.

Even though you may feel reassured that your breast pain is normal and you dont have breast cancer, the pain often remains. This can be upsetting, especially if your specialist cant tell you the exact cause of your breast pain.

Women affected by breast pain may feel many different emotions, including fear, frustration or helplessness. Although understanding more about your breast pain wont cure it, it may help you to get back some control over your life.

Having severe, long-lasting breast pain can sometimes affect a womans daily activities which may cause anxiety and, for some, depression. However, this isnt the case for most women and their pain can be helped or managed.

Having breast pain doesnt increase your risk of breast cancer. However, its still important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if the pain increases or changes, or you notice any other changes in your breasts.

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Aching Arm And Shoulder With Breast Cancer

Hi Everyone,

I was diagnosed with a stage 1 breast cancer 3wks who but the MRI has since shown 2 more areas which I am waiting to have biopsies on before a decision is made for surgery.

Since the first biopsy a month ago I have developed aching down my whole arm and even pain in my hand and wrist. It feels exactly like when I was attached by mosquitos and it poisons your bloodstream.

I also keep getting a hot burning sensation under my armpit on and off. Is this just a symptom of breast cancer or is this a symptom it is spreading?

I am paranoid about it and convinced I can actually feel it taking over my body. I hate all of the waiting between appointments, its so hard.

Ive read that when a core biopsy is performed, the needle can push some cells to another site and start a new tumour. It can also break off some cells which can travel to your lymph nodes. Ive read that this happens in 50% of cases! When I questioned it at the hospital, the Macmillan nurse got a bit cross with me for suggesting it and replied do you think we would be performing biopsies if that were the case?. But these are university studies I have read and in all fairness, she is a nurse.

Hello Nikki,

I hope that you will also hear from others here who have had a similar experience.

Best wishes,

Breast Cancer Types And Symptoms

There are several kinds of breast cancer. Many of them share symptoms.

Symptoms of ductal carcinoma

This is the most common type of breast cancer. It begins in your ducts. About 1 in 5 new breast cancers are ductal carcinoma in situ . This means you have cancer in the cells that line your ducts, but it hasnât spread into nearby tissue.

You may not notice any symptoms of ductal carcinoma. It can also cause a breast lump or bloody discharge.

Symptoms of lobular carcinoma

This kind begins in the glands that make milk, called lobules. Itâs the second most common type of breast cancer. Symptoms include:

  • Fullness, thickening, or swelling in one area
  • Nipples that are flat or point inward

Symptoms of invasive breast cancer

Breast cancer thatâs spread from where it began into the tissues around it is called invasive or infiltrating. You may notice:

  • A lump in your breast or armpit. You might not be able to move it separately from your skin or move it at all.
  • One breast that looks different from the other
  • A rash or skin thatâs thick, red, or dimpled like an orange
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Muscle weakness

Symptoms of triple-negative breast cancer

Breast cancer is called triple-negative if it doesnât have receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and doesnât make a lot of a protein called HER2. This kind tends to grow and spread faster than other types, and doctors treat it differently.

Symptoms of male breast cancer

Learn more about breast cancer in men.

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Can You Do Exercises After Shoulder Surgery

In general, most surgeons allow people to start gentle arm and shoulder exercises soon after surgery. Before you go home from the hospital, make sure you know what your surgeon recommends. If you need help at home, you can ask for some temporary help from a visiting nurse or local home health or home care services.

Breast Cancer In The Elderly

de Souza Institute  de Souza Institute provides continuing education ...

Breast cancer risk increases with age. A third of women diagnosed are older than 70! Cancer risk in general increases with age, and breast cancer is no exception. If youre a caregiver for an aging relative, make sure they receive proper screenings. Teach them the signs of breast cancer so they know what to look for.

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When Should I See A Specialist About A Pancoast Tumor

If you are concerned that the shoulder pain youre experiencing may be related to a Pancoast tumor, its a good idea to consult with an oncologist who specializes in this type of cancer. As discussed, this type of cancer is incredibly uncommon and its crucial to work with a specialist who understands and regularly treats Pancoast tumors. Thats why you should visit a high-volume cancer center, such as Moffitt Cancer Center, for advanced diagnosis and treatment of Pancoast tumors. Our experts possess a unique level of experience with uncommon lung malignancies such as these, and we have several oncologists who specialize in Pancoast tumor treatment.

Consider seeking out the Pancoast tumor specialists at Moffitt if you have been diagnosed with this type of tumor, your physician believes you might have this malignancy and has ordered additional testing or youre experiencing unusual symptoms in addition to shoulder pain that havent gone away on their own after several days.

Evaluation And Management Of Breast Pain

Breast pain or mastalgia is one of the most commonly reported symptoms in women presenting with breast complaints. In a 2014 survey of the general population of nearly 1700 women, 52% reported regular episodes of breast pain and 17% rated their breast pain greater than 7 on a scale of 10. The challenge is amplified by the fact that many primary care physicians are at a loss for how best to manage patients with chronic breast pain. For patients, breast pain may not only significant impact their quality of life, but also frequently evokes fear that the pain might be a sign of a developing breast cancer.

As a breast cancer surgeon, I get the opportunity to evaluate many of these women to both rule out a diagnosis of breast cancer and help them find solutions to their chronic breast pain symptoms. My evaluation begins with determination of the pattern of breast pain, which is relevant to assessing the underlying cause and possible solutions. Cyclic breast pain typical happens in premenopausal who report pain lasting 5 days or more before the start of at least two menstrual cycles. Cyclic pain is typically dull, burning, or aching pain, but may be sharp and shooting, usually involving one or both the upper outer quadrants. Noncyclic breast pain tends to be of shorter duration , is almost always limited to one breast, and may fluctuate in intensity for no apparent reason.

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Postsurgery Treatments And Exercises To Try

After surgery, its not uncommon to experience symptoms such as swelling, pain, and stiffness.

If you do experience these symptoms, its best to first seek an evaluation from an orthopedic specialist or a physical therapist. They can teach you how to move and exercise safely.

If you arent injured, you can usually proceed with starting an exercise program. You may not feel up to doing very much, but its important to move when you can.

At this stage, even gentle range-of-motion exercises can help keep you from losing too much mobility and prevent you from developing lymphedema.

Inclusion Criteria And Exclusion Criteria

Why Does My Shoulder Hurt?

For the purpose of this analysis, all women enrolled into ABC-DO were included except those from South Africa because the regular follow-up at this site did not systematically ascertain ASP. Prevalent breast cancer cases or who were lost to follow-up immediately after diagnosis were also excluded , leaving 1476 women in the analysis.

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Free Rotator Cuff Health Check

In celebration of National Physical Therapy Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Orthopedic and Balance Therapy Specialists will host a FREE Rotator Cuff Health Check-Up Event on the following dates and locations:

  • Monday October 17, 2016 at our Valparaiso office
  • Tuesday October 18, 2016 at our Crown Point office

During the event, each attendee will receive:

  • One on one FREE consultation time with one of our Rotator Cuff Specialist physical therapists.
  • You will discover tips on how to:
    • Know which rotator cuff muscle is affected and the grade of the tear
    • Correct the cause of your pain and speed up the healing process
    • Prevent your shoulder from getting worse

    We have 24 FREE consultation spots available for each location. To hold your spot, please call 219-202-2500 in Valparaiso, or 219-203-3100 in Crown Point.

    Baseline Demographics And Characteristics Associated With Breast Cancer

    Among 1498 patients, 154 breast cancer patients had chronic shoulder pain. After excluding 102 patients, a total of 52 female patients were included in the final analysis . They experienced pain for an average duration of 1.7 years, and most of the patients complained about pain on the same side as the breast cancer surgery site . 43 patients had received radiotherapy. Other characteristics are presented in Table .

    Figure 1

    The authors declare no competing interests.

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    Breast Upper Back Or Shoulder Pain

    It is normal to experience some breast pain around the time of your period, due to hormonal changes. Breast pain may also be a sign of breast cancer, especially if it lasts for more than a few weeks. Pain from breast cancer is most likely to appear in the breasts, underarm, or collarbone. It is also possible for pain to appear in the upper back or shoulder.

    Some patients assume theyve pulled a muscle in their shoulder when they have breast cancer. This pain can be due to metastasis, which is when cancer spreads from one part of the body to another. Shoulder and upper back pain are very common and usually dont mean a patient has breast cancer. If youve had shoulder or back pain that wont go away, a doctor can screen you for cancer, along with other conditions.

    Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health

    Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of the disease in the world that affects both men and women. The chances of getting the disease increase as you age, but detecting it at an early stage could be life saving. In this article I am going to discuss uncommon signs and symptoms of breast cancer that many people overlook.

    The majority of breast cancer cases are diagnosed in people who are aged 40 and up, but in the instances where it affects younger people it tends to be more aggressive. This makes early detection an essential part of treating the disease within its onset stages.

    • Change in breast structure

    What Kind Of Arm Pain Is Associated With Breast Cancer

    Is Shoulder Pain A Sign Of Breast Cancer : Secondary Breast Cancer In ...

    After having treatment for breast cancer, you might experience pain in your arms and shoulders, mostly on the same side of your body as the treatment. Its also common to have stiffness, swelling, and a reduced range of motion in your arms and shoulders. Sometimes, it can take months for these complications to appear.

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    When To Seek Medical Care For Breast Cancer Symptoms

    If youve had breast cancer before, call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, which could indicate that breast cancer has spread to your bones or liver:

    • insertion or removal of drains

    If youve had any of these surgeries, youll likely have some pain during your recovery.

    Studies have shown, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the more extensive your surgeries were, the worse your arm and shoulder pain is likely to be afterward. For example, people whove had surgery on their breasts typically have less shoulder and arm pain than people whove had breast surgery along with axillary lymph node dissection .

    Around 20 to 30 percent of women whove had ALND develop a condition known as postmastectomy pain syndrome . The exact cause of PMPS isnt known, but symptoms include pain in your chest, armpit, arm, or shoulder. You may also feel itchiness in those areas as well.

    Pain after breast cancer surgery can last a while. Although it may decrease as you recover, many people who have survived breast cancer report pain in their shoulder area years later.

    Coping With Shoulder Pain

    Long-term shoulder pain can range from mild to debilitating. Learning how to cope with shoulder pain that lasts a long time can help make it more bearable.

    People should not stop using the affected shoulder as this can prevent it from getting better. Keeping moving can stop the shoulder from freezing up. A person should continue their normal activities, taking regular breaks if needed.

    Some people may want to consider their sleeping arrangements and add extra pillows for shoulder support while they sleep.

    Healthcare professionals can give a person advice on how best to manage their pain.

    Learn more

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    Breast Cancer And Shoulder Blade Pain

    Some women may feel back pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades before any other sign of breast cancer reveals itself. The discomfort is usually attributed to muscle pain, inflammation of the spine or stretching the tendon and ligaments in the back.

    Its important to know that tumors will sometimes develop deep within the breast tissue of the chest and felt in the spine or ribcage. There is also the possibility of metasis, a malignant spreading of the disease to the ribs or spine.

    For example, The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports about a patient who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and suffered from a severe back pain.5

    The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association reported that metastatic bone disease secondary to breast cancer is a common cause of low back pain. The report stressed the need for further imaging in patients with a history of breast cancer and whose physical examination and plain film radiographs are inconclusive or suspicious.6

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    Breast Lump And Shoulder Blade Pain

    Can My Shoulder Pain Be Cancer?

    Hi, I’m Lottie, I’m 41 and I’m going to the breast clinic on Monday. I had thyroid cancer 10 years ago and I went to the gp last week with a small lump in my right breast underneath a skin tag which has been weeping a bit. I mentioned my breast is itchy and I have had pain in my right shoulder blade for about 6 months and I got my appointment letter in the post 2 days later. I haven’t told anyone about this, I have MS so my family and friends have done enough worrying about me. Can I ask please, do any of you have a similar experience? Thanks xx

    Hi Lottie,

    Welcome to the forum.

    I am so sorry to hear about the small lump you’ve found on top of everything else you’re going through. I am glad to hear that you now have an appointment for the breast clinic on Monday.

    You must be finding it very difficult not confiding in anyone about this. You really need one person who you can confide in. Certainly, if they do tests, you will find it of great benefit to take someone with you to your appointment to get the results.

    You must be a very strong person to be coping with all of this on your own. I have had 2 bouts of breast cancer in the past 9 years. I found a lump on both occasions, but didn’t have any discharge. Only 1 person in 10 referred to the clinic will turn out to have cancer, so I hope that you will be one of the other 9,

    Please let us know how you get on. We are always here for you.

    Kind regards,

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    Shoulder Pain After Radiation

    In March 2019 I had a lumpectomy/sentinel node biopsy right breast and then 4 weeks of radiation. September I couldnt lift my right arm. I went to an acupuncturist, chiropractor, and massage therapist. After none of these worked I went to my pc dr and he referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who said I must have torn my rotator cuff and ordered an mri. I told every specialist and dr about the surgery and radiation and they all said this has nothing to do with that. I was scheduled to have a nerve conduction study when I just happened to have a follow up with my oncology surgeon and he was shocked that none of these drs and specialists knew this has everything to do with radiation! I am now seeing a physical therapist and feeling much better. Whewcancelled the nerve conduction study just in time!

    I had breast cancer a little over a year ago. I had 20 treatments of radiation. As I progressed through it I had to have help with my left shoulder to grip the bar. It got progressively worse. About 6 weeks after I went to an orthopedic doctor. MRI showed scare tissue definitely from radiation. My left shoulder was frozen. Surgery wasnt an option. I did therapy, had massages on it & have exercises daily for it. It has finally let go a year later, not completely but much better. Yes, the doctors all agreed it was from the radiation.

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