My good friend's wife had cancer radiation treatment in the lymph node area
under and around the shoulder area for breast cancer. It has been about 3
to 4 years since the radiation. She is now experiencing severe radiating
pain from her shoulder down into her hand. Her hand is only semi-
functional and is numb much of the time. She can't squeeze or grasp things
very well. She has been to several doctors and neurologists that have said
that it is her left bracial plexus that is damaged and there is nothing they
can do--that her nerve is "dying."--that it was damaged beyond repair from
radiation. Could you please help us? We (they) do not know where to turn
next. This woman is very optimistic, very positive, and believes there must
be a better solution...Can you give us your opinion, websites, specialists,
etc. that could help her? They are willing to go anywhere for help. Is
there a specialist somewhere in the country that deals with this anomaly
quite frequently or some kind of therapy? Please respond and thank you for
ps: I am writing for Kathy Dickmeyer, a friend, who does not have e-mail.
Dear Kevin, Brachial plexopathy can be a challenging condition to treat, and often a team approach with assistance from different specialties in terms of interventions is necessary. A consultation with a pain management team would be an avenue to explore. At different institutions the team may be from different departments. For example, at our institution Cleveland Clinic we have a pain management team that works out of the Department of Anesthesia. We also have a Palliative Care Service, which works out of the Oncology department, who also has experience dealing with this condition. In a larger institution there may be more access to input from various specialties such as neurology, pain management, physical therapy, so this may be a direction for you to look into.
If you have not done so, on the MedHelp home page try searching under brachial plexopathy. There is a nice description of the condition, along with treatments, which may give you ideas of other area
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