• Why is my chest and back swelling?

    Asked by Raeyye on Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Why is my chest and back swelling?

    9 weeks out , I'm swollen under my arm , painful and so uncomfortable. I go to PT twice a week get excersies and stretching. I also get lymphatic massage and do it on myself everyday. Last night I swelled up more. My back , my belly and across my chest. It's awful. The therapist sees it and measured my chest and waist. I'm 71 , healing is slow. I feel no energy especially today. I had a belly and bone scan , all ok. No lymph involvement , ONCO 1. No chemo or radiation. I tried the pill and stopped . I eat pure , now I'll drop the little yogurt I eat and do green smoothies. Anyone else swell in the back and under the non breasts ? No days do I feel good. Now I feel very bad.

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • TXHills' Avatar
      TXHills

      You need to let your doctor know how you are feeling. You may have lymphedema or an infections or something else going on. But you should be getting better, not worse.

      over 5 years ago
    • LymphActivist's Avatar
      LymphActivist

      It sounds like you may have chest/truncal lymphedema. Make sure that your physical therapist is trained and certified in lymphedema management. Who gives you your lymphatic massage? Are they certified lymphedema therapists?

      over 5 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar
      debco148

      I agree, your therapist must be trained in lymphedema, the massage is very soft and gentle compared to a regular massage. Additionally, your doctor should look at you carefully. Depending on how long ago your surgery was, and if you say you are not healing, you should be looked at. There is a condition called Seroma. If you feel terrible, develop fever, etc. You must get to a doctor right away. Seroma is a build of fluids after surgery..it is the fluid that you may have seen in drains after surgery. Sometimes it backs up and forms a pocket. I don't mean to scare you but this must be checked. It can poison the body and the swelling and soreness is the first symptom, especially if you had no lymph nodes removed. Additionally, to help heal from surgery, you must make sure you eat extra protein, right now it is important to your healing. I had a seroma in my tummy from reconstruction for my breast (DIEP method) where thay take fat and skin from the stomach and developed extreme swelling, very sore, then a slight fever. The wound was not healing either. I was put on a wound vac to drain the seroma and told to rest and eat up to 2300 gr of protein a day. A lot, it seemed, but it did accelerate the healing. Do not do anything like this on your own..you must see the surgeon immediately. Please let us know us know what your doctor says. Wishing you the best..you will get through this!

      over 5 years ago
    • MelanieIIB's Avatar
      MelanieIIB

      How many lymph nodes were removed? If you didn't have many taken, I would think you have a situation like debco148 mentioned. I would definitely contact your breast surgeon.

      I also agree with LymphActivist, make sure your therapist is a certified lymphedema therapist.

      I had my first mastectomy almost 2 years ago. 18 lymph nodes were removed. I have a mild case of lymphedema that effects my hand, arm and the side of my trunk under my arm that extends down about 4 inches. I battle with this every day. Some days the swelling goes into my back. The wonderful lymphedema therapist I was seeing is no longer at the facility I went to. I am having a hard time finding another one, and one that takes my insurance. There are not too many certified lymphedema therapists in my area.

      over 5 years ago
    • Raeyye's Avatar
      Raeyye

      I see a lymph specialist 2 X a week. My arms arm fine. I had 3 lymph nodes taken , all clean. Double mastectomy. No treatment , only the pill that I won't take. I saw the surgeon , he said not much fluid , 15 CC. He said it will absorb. He said it's not lympodema . I feel much better today. If I'm no OK I'll go see him again. Working hard to stay on top of this.

      over 5 years ago
    • smishik's Avatar
      smishik

      I only had two lymph nodes removed. all clean and I still developed Lymphedema. So it doesn't matter how many you have out. I was told 20% of breast cancer patients will get Lymphedema. It could happen with in a week or maybe 20 years down the road. You have to be very careful with the side your cancer was on. I absolutely hate it. My insurance won't pay for therapy because they don't consider Lymphedema a medical problem. Shows how ignorant the insurance companies are. I bet if they got it or someone they loved got it, it would be a different story. So I just do my massages and stretches myself every day and night. What a life.

      over 5 years ago
    • smishik's Avatar
      smishik

      Sorry just feeling down today. Have to go in on the 19th for a partial Colectomy.

      over 5 years ago
    • MelanieIIB's Avatar
      MelanieIIB

      smishik, so sorry about your upcoming procedure and that you have lymphedema from just two nodes being removed. I was never told it could happen when only two were removed. l was under the impression that you were at risk for lymphedema only if you had axillary dissection.

      over 5 years ago
    • smishik's Avatar
      smishik

      No I guess anyone can get it if you have anything messing with your system.

      over 5 years ago
    • tam4givin's Avatar
      tam4givin

      I only had 5 nodes taken. I got truncal lymphedema soon as I got drain tube out. Everyone kept saying I did not have it, nurses, primary care Internal medicine doc, surgeon, etc. Oncologist saw me and said why is nothing being done for it! Then the problem was I would swell right back up because I couldnot afford the $500. vest and night sleeve. I wore a Spot with sports bra that helped some but not enough. It has finally gone down.

      over 5 years ago
    • smishik's Avatar
      smishik

      I don't understand why everyone is so ignorant on this subject. I mean it is everywhere but the insurance companies and even the doctors don't have a clue. I asked my doctor about it when I first noticed the swellling. She told me she didn't know what it was and told me to contact my surgeon. Which I did. My surgeons nurse is the one who finally got me help. There are only two lymphedema therapist in this area. The one didn't take my insurance so they wouldnt even look at me. The other one didn't take my insurance either but she took me on. My insurance did pay for 10 visits on a "Special Needs" program. But I have this for life. What do they expect me to do for the rest of my life? This is just so unfair.

      over 5 years ago
    • Raeyye's Avatar
      Raeyye

      My Medicare only covers a certain amount of PT a year for anything. The therapist can show you what to do at home until the first of the year. YouTube has lots on videos on lymphatic massage. You can do most yourself.

      over 5 years ago
    • MLT's Avatar
      MLT

      We DO need more therapists trained in Lymphatic massages. Only 1 here for at least 3 counties. I have to go to a bigger city if I need immediate treatment . Is the training so difficult that no one wants to take the time to get it?

      over 5 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy


    Read and answer more breast cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Breast Cancer page.