I had a lumpectomy in December 2002 and have been cancer free since then. It was caught at a very early stage, in situ. Several months after surgery I developed pain in my ribs, left side, just below surgery site. I was told it was due to nerve damage from the surgery. Over the years it has gotten much worse and now goes from my breastbone around my back. My oncologist sent me for a bone scan and it showed marked degeneration in my thoracic area and she has ordered more xrays. I have been missing a lot of work because of the pain,it hurts to sit, and am now scheduled for a nerve block for pain control. My nurse at the pain clinic said that when the ribs compress, as when sitting, it puts pressure on the nerves in the area. I do receive some relief when I stretch my arm over my head and back.
Is it possible for the cancer surgery to be the cause of the degeneration? Could the cancer have gotten into the bones?
Dear dlw0221: Noninvasive breast cancers (in situ cancers) should not have the ability to metastasize to other sites. However, without knowing more about the specifics of the surgery, reviewing your bone scan, and doing a physical examination, it is impossible for us to speculate on whether this is related to the surgery, cancer or if it is something completely unrelated. It is unlikely, however, that breast surgery caused degenerative problems in the spine. You might benefit most from a discussion with your doctor regarding the results of the bone scan and any possible explanations for the "degeneration."
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