nontacitare (nontacitare) wrote in breastcancer,

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Question I've been scared to ask

I'm a four year breast cancer survivor, and underwent an oopherectomy this summer, putting me into instant surgical menopause. Recently, I've developed non-localized pain in my left breast, where I originally had breast cancer. I can't feel any lumps or changes, and neither could my gynecologist when I went in for my annual exam two weeks ago. She said that it was behaving like a muscle problem, but when I asked if I could wait until my December check-up with my oncologist she said, "It's not worth the risk."

My question - has anyone ever had generalized breast pain that was a symptom of breast cancer? Right now I'm feeling both scared and paralyzed.
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I've had pain, off and on, on the side where the cancer was. I'm 10 years out. It has gotten better over the years, but still occurs. I've noticed it more when I have swelling in my arm/chest area. It kind of aches right now, come to think of it. So, what am I trying to say (at 3 a.m.)...? Pain is not necessarily cancer, but yes, go get it checked out. My doctors said that the side with the cancer was treated a bit rougher during the surgeries & more... goop... was taken out, so that is why there is pain. The muscles alone on that side still cramp up from time to time. I don't know how much of that is residual surgery foo & how much is I need some yoga.

I am sorry you are feeling scared and paralyzed. I hope it is not cancer, and that the doctors are able to put your mind at ease.

How are you doing with the menopause? I did the oopherectomy too.
Menopause isn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I do get hot flashes, but they're not debilitating. I take black cohosh for my symptoms. There are some other minor changes (my hair is more brittle, slight mood and insomnia problems) but overall not as terrible as I'd imagined.

How about you?
I would urge you to be careful with the cohosh if your cancer was estrogen-receptor positive. My oncologist told me that I had to stay away from it because of my status. Neurontin can be used to reduce the frequency and duration of your hot flashes, and is non-hormonal.
That's scary. My cancer was triple negative, but since I'm BRCA1 I was told to stay away from HRT and soy; however my surgeon recommended black cohosh to me as safe. I've been telling every doctor I have that I've been taking black cohosh, and no one has said anything to me.

One of the reasons I feel so overwhelmed is that no one (in terms of doctors) is managing my menopausal symptoms or even BRCA1 follow-up. I'm finding it almost impossible to get information from anywhere but the internet.

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll look into it.
Do you have an oncologist? (I know, that may seem to be a silly question) I would contact them and ask some questions. There's no evidence of black cohosh's safety in breast cancer patients. Maybe I was lucky, but my oncologist was extremely well-versed in handling my menopausal questions/symptoms. Does your breast center happen to have a nurse navigator?
It's complicated. I had an oncologist for my breast cancer, but my current insurance doesn't cover him, so I either need to fight my insurance company or get a new oncologist for follow-up. (Hence the paralysis.)

It was the gynecological oncologist who performed my oopherectomy this summer who recommended black cohosh for the menopausal symptoms brought on by surgery. I did tell her that I'm a breast cancer survivor and have BRCA1. (The BRCA1 is why she performed the oopherectomy.) It was an off-handed suggestion before I had menopause when I asked what I should do after the surgery since I can't do HRT or soy because of the breast cancer risk. I don't feel she did a good job going over my options with me.
I hope you find answers and peace of mind, soon.
First, good thoughts to you. I really REALLY understand.

I have had on and off generalized pain in my breast where I had my lumpectomy for 4 years now (7 years out), and nothing was wrong other than some scarring from the surgery (normal) and occasional edema (that was not obvious other than the weird pain). I TOTALLY understand that paralysis, though, as I've had things that concerned me too including that pain. So for THAT reason I think it's good to to your doc to check it out. Menopause is going to affect your body, including your breast tissue. You might wind up feeling it. I am peri-menopausal now and am feeling all sorts of wonky things.

I am sending good thoughts because I really understand ... and it can make you feel a bit angry, like 'am I always going to have weeks like this? When do I get a break?'. I try to have faith in my body, and in the treatment they gave me, and in how hard I fought. Not in an idealistic way, but in a 'I have totally done all I can and that's the best anyone can do' way.


Thank you all for your kind words. It really helps to hear that others have gone through this and that my feelings aren't insane. You've helped me calm down quite a bit.