Underarm odour and ear wax...for pete's sake !!!

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rosie29
rosie29 Member Posts: 6
I had a left breast lumpectomy Dec 2011; radiation early 2012. All clear. Nearly at my five year anniversary last August 2016, I noticed a dimple underneath the left breast and in the left armpit. Won't go into how I felt about that, right now. But I had an ultrasound & the hospital brought fwd what would have been my last mammogram of the five year 'clearance' period. Early Oct 2016 I saw the specialist who said 'all ok', but I remained uneasy. Two weeks later the hospital rang and said they'd made an error, and there is 'something' there, but 'it's too small for us to tell what it is'. So they gave me an appointment for March 2017 at the breast clinic to follow up. In the meantime, very recently, I started noticing a sudden onset, weird smell, left armpit. I don't use deodorant when I'm at home any more. But this smell survives intense soaping/showering, like really really awful BO. Very slight similar in right armpit. I had some lymph nodes removed five years ago, but this has just started. And for about the last 2 years, really bad earwax problems. Tonight I thought I'd just google around and see if anyone else has struck this, and to my horror, I came across an American BC patient discussion page where the ladies have indeed had this problem. Some said there is a link to the underarm smell, the earwax and recurrent BC !  Some of those ladies said they are asking their radiation oncologists about, but there are plenty who have this.

Now I am not going to give in to full scale panic, but is there anyone out there - here in Oz - who has come across this? or knows anything about it???  I will be phoning my clinic first thing Monday, trust me.

Anyone ???
Rosie, Sat 11/2/2017

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  • Glemmis
    Glemmis Member Posts: 343
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    Hi Rosie, I had a lumpectomy last July & then mastectomy 2 weeks later. I had an odour emanating from that arm after I was diagnosed but before surgery which was like a bad BO & told my surgeon & she said 2 of her patients said they smelt like onions before their diagnosis. I think with me it was stress because I had the odour for many weeks after surgery. I havent heard about the earwax & wonder how this could be related. Sorry I know this isn't of much help & hope you get it sorted very soon!
  • rosie29
    rosie29 Member Posts: 6
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    Thanks Glemmis...any comment is a good comment where this business is concerned.  I found that site by randomly landing on it and had never heard of either before. I've just read a piece here that says there is no connection between deodorants and BC, but that's not specifically what I'm worrying about...it's what those (American) ladies said about the sudden onset of the smell - and that it resists cleansing, or comes up soon after a shower. I have a scar just below centre of my left armpit but as no-one's ever mentioned this problem before, I don't how (or even if) that may be significant. But I will be asking my specialist and will report back here. In the meantime if anyone else has had this (or the weird earwax thing) please jump in and tell us ?!  cheers
  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
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    Okay. So there has been a link with dna that has a higher breast cancer risk being the same gene responsible for people who have stinky armpits and soft earwax. It is not a sign of breast cancer ...just a coincidence it's on the same gene. This is people who always have goopy earwax and stinky armpits...not a sudden change. Link below
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090601102025.htm

    As to the understm odour being new. There could be any number of reasons but being stressed is a big one.

    Here's a little article on it, and similar ones appear on Dr Google causes, most definitely not bc related (but maybe the stress of waiting for f/u just might)
    As stress releases more of the pheromones that can cause odour ...different from normal b.o.

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4475756

    So yes...get checked out and see if all good. A great natural antibacterial is real lemon rubbed under arm. 

    Sudden goopy earwax is more likely an ear infection that is easily treated ...can be with drops or antibiotics.

    Hope all goes well with your mammogram follow up...scanxiety is normal following bc. Take care and let us know the outcome. Kath x
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,373
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    Thanks for the links and the summary, Kath.
    I had a recurrence in my left armpit Rosie. It took 3 years for it to go from 'Nothing, just some scar tissue.' to ' We need to remove that right now. Why is it still there?'  Excellent to get on top of any worries like that as early as possible.
    Regarding the weird smell, I think cancer stinks, literally and metaphorically. To me is reeks like rubberised onions. Go figure.
  • rosie29
    rosie29 Member Posts: 6
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    Thank you ladies for your comments and the links.  Zoffiel, that is kind of what I'm thinking now (your "just some scar tissue: to 'We need...).   Kath, I hear what you're saying re the stress, but due to other circumstances, I'm doubtful that that's the answer in this case.  Interesting that other ladies report the odour being of onions.  Mine just smells really really bad - off the meter on the left where the lymph node scar is, and very slightly, on the right, and it's definitely 'sudden onset'.
  • Brenda5
    Brenda5 Member Posts: 2,423
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    Schnauzer dogs can detect cancers on people so it must have some sort of odour.
  • Pammy46
    Pammy46 Member Posts: 162
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    Interesting I have over the last 12 months had more bo in my right armpit than my left and my breast cancer is right breast 
    i still have it 10 weeks on from surgery I thought it was just hormonal 
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,388
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    I had about 3 days of a terrible stench after my 2nd A/C treatment. Problem was compounded by the fact that only I could smell it. It was knock you over bad, but all in my head. The nose is remarkable but can get false signals (presumably in this case from the effects of chemo) and I was aware of this so carefully checked with family. It abated on the third day, although I would get slight whiffs. I was concerned it would happen each time, but it was a one off. In those days I still looked at a few blogs and found quite a few sites (all American) where people seemed to have something similar. Reactions were bizarre though.
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,566
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    I find when my new breast swells and I head to remedial massage I suffer from bo that only I can smell and strong urine like I've eaten asparagus only for days. 
    Good idea to ring Monday for peace of mind. Fingers crossed. Take care xx 
  • rosie29
    rosie29 Member Posts: 6
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    Thank you all for your responses...will report back :-)
  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
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    @rosie29 Any news about an appointment? 
  • rosie29
    rosie29 Member Posts: 6
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    I rang and asked for information as per my first post Kath...they said they will phone me when they find out what they can.  But the person I spoke to, had never heard of either - the underarm problem or the ear.  When I hear back, I'll post here.  I have an appointment for a mammogram and further scan, early March.  Kind regards, all.
  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
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    Okay.  Hope it all moves along quickly and you have answers soon. 
  • melclarity
    melclarity Member Posts: 3,524
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    Hey Rosie! Goodness what an ordeal! Please keep us posted how you go! Ive had a recurrence at the 4yr mark now heading in to 6yrs and I didnt have this problem. HOWEVER I have had instances of swollen node in my neck when Im unwell...which makes me wonder about the ears if its actually attributed to the lymph nodes removal, just another thought. As any little infection the lymph nodes dont work so it goes into overdrive. I had ZERO symptoms of my recurrence however it did come back in the breast scar which is impossible with major clear margins 4yrs before. No rhyme or reason!!! Hugs Melinda xo