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Answer to your Health Question

Question:

Pain under the breast and rib cage area five years after lumpectomy

Thanks

Samantha

Answer:

 

Dear Samantha,

Nearly half of breast cancer survivors are plagued by persistent pain years after cancer surgery.

It is not unusual for a person to have sensation changes, discomfort, or even pain following a procedure such as surgery.

It is possible for scar tissue to form as a result of the procedure.

Postsurgical pain can stem from nerve damage during the operation or from compression injury to certain nerves that can accompany lymphedema. The cause can even be a second primary tumor .

Pain two to three years later is most common for younger women and those who had axillary lymph node dissection.

Radiation, but not chemotherapy, is associated with an increased risk for persistent pain.

Persistent postsurgical pain occurs in 10% to 50% of patients, who undergo common surgical procedures, including breast cancer surgery.

In breast cancer, the pathogenic mechanisms are complex and might be related to surgical technique, nerve damage, individual patient characteristics, and the use of adjuvant therapy.


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