During breast cancer treatment, you may have different kinds of pain in your chest.
After surgery, you may feel a mixture of pain and numbness in your chest in the area where surgery was done. This is because nerves were unavoidably bruised, stretched, or cut during surgery. As the nerves grow back, you may feel strange, crawling sensations in your chest. Right after surgery, you may feel brief shooting pains in your chest. This is also because the nerves are irritated.
During and after radiation therapy, you also may feel brief shooting pains in your chest. Again, this is because the nerves are swollen and irritated.
If you have an implant in place and the tissues around it are stretched, you may feel more severe chest pain.
Managing chest pain
If you have chest pain after surgery or during or after radiation therapy, talk to your doctor. A number of medicines, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and opiates, can be used to ease pain.
Some complementary and holistic medicine techni...
Radiation therapy is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells that may linger after surgery. This reduces the risk of recurrence.
Radiation is usually given after mastectomy in men with:
large cancers (5 centimeters or bigger)
a positive margin of resection (when the cancer comes very close to or is at the edge of the breast tissue removed)
a significant area of lymphatic or blood vessel involvement
significant lymph node involvement (four or more positive nodes)
After mastectomy, radiation therapy is usually given 5 days a week for about 5-7 weeks.
Radiation can also be used for men with advanced (metastatic) disease to relieve symptoms or help avoid complications from specific areas of spread. For example, radiation can help relieve painful bone metastases, decrease the risk of breaking a bone that's been weakened by cancer, decrease bleeding from skin involvement, and reduce neurological symptoms if the cancer puts pressure on nerves or the spinal cord.
If you had radiation to the chest to treat another cancer (not breast cancer), such as Hodgkin disease or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, you have a higher-than-average risk of breast cancer. If you had radiation to the face as an adolescent to treat acne (something that's no longer done), you are at higher risk of developing breast cancer later in life. The amount of risk increase depends on how old you were when you had radiation. The increase in risk is highest if you had radiation during adolescence, when your breasts were developing.
Steps you can take
If you had radiation when you were younger to successfully treat another cancer or to treat acne, you know how important it is to make lifestyle choices that can keep your breast cancer risk as low as it can be:
maintaining a healthy weight
eating nutritious food
never smoking (or quitting if you do smoke)
These are just a few of the steps you can take. Review the links on the left side of this page f...
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