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Worrying symptoms
Hello,

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and already underwent a mastectomy, chemo and radiation - all within the last 9 months. They did find quite a bit of spread to my lymph nodes. Fortunately, after chemo, the rest of the lymph nodes that got removed showed negative (6 months ago).

In the past week, I have been feeling some worrying symptoms - they include sharp shoulder pains and constant thirst/dry mouth. I am worried because I felt the exact same symptoms 6-12 months before discovering the tumor in my breast. I don't have any reason to believe something else is causing this. When I talked to my oncologist he didn't think it was related to cancer.

I am aware that I shouldn't read into it too much but at the same time I firmly believe in listening to my body.

Has anyone else experienced something similar? Is there anything I can do like request more exams/scans? I have found my oncologist's care to be dismissive - nothing beyond the protocol and I am just a # in an assembly line.

Thanks.
5 Replies
Essjay
1536 Posts
DaughterAndMom‍ its hard being a survivor - we can’t help but worry about new pains or strange symptoms. My oncologist advised me to keep notes and see if things changed over a week or two. The exception being lumps or really bad pain (>7/10)…

Do you have a family doctor - someone other than your oncologist you can raise things with? They too can order tests if there’s anything of concern. Also good to see them for all the non-cancer checks.

I have had some shoulder issues post breast cancer treatment - I thought I must have some muscle damage from the surgery and radiation or something as I lost some mobility. Turned out I have a labral tear and it’s unrelated to my treatment - a reminder that we are at risk of all the other conditions and diseases non-cancer patients get.

Are you on any hormone suppressant medications and have you checked their side effects - dry mouth seems to crop up as a frequent side effect from drugs, it’s also an aging issue for us women…I get it when I’m anxious

i hope your shoulder pain goes soon and the dry mouth resolves.

How are you feeling otherwise post treatment?
JustJan
740 Posts
DaughterAndMom‍, I have certainly found since my cancer diagnosis and following treatment, I am more in tune with any anomalies or pains that are happening. I have had good success with my oncologist in getting scans done when they are needed. I would approach it from the perspective of that although they don’t think it is cancer related, that a scan would go a long way in helping to ease your mind and confirm their thinking. If you don’t have any luck with the oncologist, you could perhaps make an appointment with your family doctor.

Hopefully, one of these options will work for you. In the meantime, try to breathe.
DMT
110 Posts
DaughterAndMom‍ Hi, as I am reading your post I too am having shoulder pain, rib pain, armpit pain. My mastectomy was 2 1/2 years ago. For me I think part of it is post mastectomy pain that comes and goes and part of it is the hormone therapy. I had dry eyes and dry mouth for a long time before my diagnosis that seems to be controlled with eye gel frequently and occasionally use the mouth gel that helps with the dry mouth. I saw my GP for an exam last week, had a diagnostic mammogram on the remaining breast this week (all good) and a telehealth appointment next week with a new oncologist. I will bring up the aches and pains at next weeks appointment. I have a feeling they won’t be concerned as the pains come and go and are greatly relieved by taking Extra strength acetaminophen.

As patients we are told to watch for symptoms. When things hurt we get concerned. With good reason!

Have a chat with your GP about your concerns and bring it up again with the oncologist. At this point in time you need peace of mind.
Thanks for detailed reply. It already helps so much to know that I am not alone.

It is for sure a struggle with not overacting to symptoms and questioning whether I'm doing enough for myself. A big reason is questioning myself if I did enough before. Could I have found the cancer sooner if I paid attention more? As mentioned the spread to my lymph nodes was quite serious.

I will book an appointment with GP tomorrow. Was hesitant that she won't do much if the oncologist already said it's nothing. But maybe good to have it documented anyways.

What's the reason for the new oncologist DMT‍ ?
DMT
110 Posts
DaughterAndMom‍ I have no idea why the new oncologist. I will ask the reason when I meet with the new guy. I did a search on him and discovered his area of interest includes breast cancer and genitourinary cancers. I have had more than one type of cancer so maybe it’s that or maybe the other guy is too busy! Find out on Monday!
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