Underarm soreness after radiation

PamelaP Member Posts: 23
Can anyone explain why I have more underarm pain post radiotherapy my surgeon says that rib pain is often a "pesky" problem but to me it's more than that & it's not just ribs its also under my armpit !! 
I had been wearing soft bras during chemotherapy & during radiation until the burns started.  Now it's weeks post radiation I'm all healed up but I still cant get back to wearing a bra - feels like back to square one.  Anyone else had this problem?  Any suggestions?  


  • lrb_03
    lrb_03 Member Posts: 1,267
    Hi @PamelaP,  not sure I can specifically answer your question, but wondering if it might be some sort of nerve irritation? I'd suggest a discussion with your radiation oncologist.
    Hope you find some relief somewhere 
    Take care
  • SoldierCrab
    SoldierCrab Member Posts: 3,431
    hi PamelaP it could be from where it was radiated... mine when right under my arm as I had lymph nodes with cancer on that side. I had a double mastectomy so don't wear anything but I couldn't stand anything but a soft cotton singlet against my skin and even then it was painful for months after radiation. They say that it continues after we finish our radiation for x amount of time afterwards.... I know I hated anything on my radiated area for about 18mths 
    @JoeyLiz any suggestions ? 
  • JoeyLiz
    JoeyLiz Member Posts: 339
    I would definitely mention in to your RO at your follow up. If your Axilla was irradiated then this may explain some pain in your armpit area. I would give it at least 6 wks before attempting an underwire bra.
    i hope it eases soon!
  • PamelaP
    PamelaP Member Posts: 23
    thanks all for your comments, I was beginning to think it was just me being a sook !!

    @SoldierCrab yes the radiation went right under my armpit similar to yours because I had a full axillary clearance.  It's only 2 months since radiation finished so still a while to go.  My RO said all good at my final appointment with him - 3 weeks after radiation finished. Maybe I need to make another appointment with him, I tried asking my oncologist but it was not her area !
    Soft bra with no insert for 2 hours when I go out & can't wait to throw it off as soon as I get home - guess that's just how its going to be for now

  • Romla
    Romla Member Posts: 2,092
    The first time I felt comfortable after lumpectomy/radiation was when a friend gave me an ah bra with no seams that I step into.If you’d like to try them they readily available Target , Kmart etc ( called a sports bra I think , my daughter likes them too ) and cheap. I bought 3 more on eBay. I still have rib pain on radiated side occasionally and is 12 months since radiotherapy - is one of the longer term side effects I wasn’t told about.
  • Unicornkisses
    Unicornkisses Member Posts: 402
    I too have pain in the armpit and the area in front of it where all my lymph nodes were removed. I finished radiation in November last year. The area under my arm tends to fill with fluid too and has to be massaged to relieve it. I still have some swelling or thickening across the top of my chest where the breast was removed and it is painful at times and down my sternum is very painful to touch, usually okay if I don't touch it. The surgeon suggests it is from severed nerves after the mastectomy and says it is normal. The lymphodema physio suggests deep cording possibly with adhesions. The Oncologist suggests arthritis brought to a head by the Letrazole, yes, apparently arthritis in your chest is a thing? Who knew? 
    It took quite a few months for a bra to be comfortable, and some still hurt. I was told never to wear underwire due to my lympdodema issues. The most comfortable under my arm was the very wide compression bra the Lymphodema physio gave me, but it doesn't have a pocket for the prosthesis. Most bras I find come up too high in front of my arm and cause a lot of pain there even now, it is worse if I don't have the prosthesis in to help pull the bra away from the area.

    I wore a piece of the cotton padding, that they used to dress my chest after radiation, under the edge of my bra for weeks after I began wearing a bra again. It helped a bit. Perhaps even a thick sanitary pad under the bra in the painful area might help until the pain eases.