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Diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer. Had bilateral mastectomy. How to get cured?

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General & Family Physician
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I was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer in sept 10. Had bilateral mastectomy. Tumor was under 1 cm, er/pr positive. 4 nodes removed, no metastasis. About 3 weeks ago, noticed "sore" left outer rib. No bruising. does not hurt to breathe, cough or move. Still tender to the touch and the area of discomfort is enlarging. What should I do.
Posted Thu, 9 Aug 2012 in Breast Cancer
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 2 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

The sore left outer rib seems like an isolated lesion. I do not think it is related to breast cancer in any way.

It may be a simple problem of costochondritis. You may consider taking simple analgesics like Tylenol that is available over the counter. Look for improvement in your symptoms.

Breast cancer does metastasize to the bones. To rule out if this is the cause of your sore rib, investigations like chest X-ray and a PET scan (ideal investigation) can be done.

In my opinion, it most probably seems like a local cause than a metastasis.

Please consult your primary care physician, discuss about these options and go ahead with the treatment.

Do write back for further discussion on this.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer. Had bilateral mastectomy. How to get cured? 11 hours later
Thank you. My concern is that the area of discomfort is enlarging, now encompassing most of my rib cage below my breast. It is not painful unless it is touched, so taking analgesics seems silly. My most recent oncologist checkup included an ultrasound of my neck which revealed an enlarged lymph mode in the supraclavical area. It was previously biopsied, in 2010 just before my mastectomy and found to be benign. It appears to be the same size, so the biopsy wasn't repeated. My CA-15-3 hovers between 32 and 38, but seems stable in that range. I never had a PET scan, since my oncologist reported that it was not indicated with a tumor of my size. I suppose I am gun shy, but am now worried about the ribs and metastasis. If it is costochindritis, wouldn't it hurt beyond just to the touch?
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 42 minutes later

Thanks for writing back.

The tumour was less than one cm in size for which you had bilateral mastectomy with four lymph node dissections and no metastasis at that time.

The prognosis in your case is very good.

There appears no lymph node spread after that. There is a small probability of bone metastasis. The normal value of CA 15-3 is below 30. In your case, it is hovering between 32 and 38.

It is advisable to get a chest x-ray done at the least.

Costochondritis pain typically occurs on touch and it may not be painful beyond it in milder forms.

I hope this helps you.

Please feel free to ask follow up queries, in case you have any.

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