I had segmental mastectmy, axillary disection, chemo & radiation, 12yrs ago.I am now having shoulder & arm pain. I had EMG done and was told I have nerve damage. Now they want me to have an MRI to show the nerves in my shoulder to rule out another tumor. Also, said it could be scar tissue from the radiation. Is this normal? Could this be caused from the axillary disection causing scar tissue? I am in alot of pain and have lost strength is my hand and arm. Also, the upper part of my arm has swollen (lymphedema.) Will this ever go away I am really getting down.
Dear memelori: Unfortunately, this type of problem sometimes happens to people who have had radiation therapy. It is not common, but occasionally happens. It is unlikely, 12 years later that it is scar tissue from the surgery. Nonetheless, the fact that you have had lymph nodes removed and then radiation to the remaining nodes is probably the cause of the lymphedema. It would be a good idea to seek help at a lymphedema clinic or, if that is unavailable, occupational therapists generally have experience dealing with these problems and may be able to offer some practical assistance to dealing with both problems. It is reasonable to have the MRI just to be sure there is no new problem.
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