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What causes persistent dull pain in right rib cage?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 6182 Questions
I am a 74 year woman. I have had a radical right breast removal approximately 20 years ago. The past 3 years I started out with a dull pain (continually) in my right rib cage. I mentioned it to both my family doctor and my heart doctor (open heart surgery+ pace maker). The ribcage is now seriously enlarged, constant dull pain. To look in a mirror is like looking a two (2) different people. The left side is normal to the breast bone. The right side is almost three (3) times larger. My family (father) has a history of pancreatic and pancreatic cancer. Both deceased from this disease. Serious depression from no assistance, answers, from my physicians is becoming too much to bear. Can you give me any answers to my situation, or possibly questions I can ask my physicians to consider this situation. Thank you for your comments. XXXXXXX XXXXXXX
Posted Sat, 22 Mar 2014 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 42 minutes later
Brief Answer: See below Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about this disturbing situation you find yourself in. I understand illness could be very disturbing but not having answers to a condition that clearly looks abnormal is even a greater challenge. I hope you soon get answers to address this condition. I understand the concerns with pancreatic cancer. The pancreas is more to the left and in the abdomen, I will not think it could be responsible for this problem right now. Pancreatic cancer typically presents with severe abdominal pain, yellowish eyes and weight loss. This should be far from a possible Cancer of the pancreas. For sure I don't know why the huge discrepancy in the structures. I will suggest that you get imaging studies like a chest xray and a CT-scan to evaluate the internal organs and see what is going on. It could be an enlargement of one some of the structures in the thoracic cage or an abnormal growth. These imaging studies would be able to tell whether this is all normal or not. In all, no conclusive answer can be provided without further examinations and investigations. I will suggest you ask your doctors directly what the cause is and mention to them that you would love to do tests to identify why the big discrepancy in the look of your chest if they have no clear cut answer to give you from the clinical exam. A CT scan and a chest Xray would be great to identify all the thoracic organs and provide details on their sizes and even compare with the left side to understand what the problem is. I hope this helps. I wish you well. Feel free to ask for more information if need be. Thanks for using our services. Dr. Ditah, MD.
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