Breast cancer

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Hello, I had a lumpectomy in November 2022 and radiotherapy in Feb 2023. I now have a very painful left breast (same one where the cancer was) but also the bone under the breast, the armpit and down the side of the breast is very painful. I have finally gone to the GP as I thought it was due to stress. I now have to go and have a scan and possible tests. Could this mean that possibly the cancer has either returned our spread to the bones? I am so scared i just keep crying. I had a mammogram in November 2023 and all was clear.

Thank you

  • Hi sooooze,

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    My name is Gemma, I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurses on the Macmillan Support Line.

    I am sorry to hear you are experiencing new painful areas in your breast. It must be very concerning for you, having had a previous breast cancer diagnosis.

    Your symptoms have been worrying you and you have done the best thing by getting them checked.

    Previous radiotherapy can cause the breast tissue to feel firmer, and people can continue to have pain and discomfort in their breasts for years sometimes.

    However, as we’re a charity separate from the NHS and without access to your medical records, we can’t say if this is normal for you. Only your consultant or breast cancer nurse specialist (if you have one) can answer this question.

    Have you spoken to anyone in your Breast Team as they may not be aware of your GP referral and may be able to give you a better understanding of what is going on? If not, it would be advisable to do so as they are best placed to talk through the investigation process and answer any specific questions. 

    Also, I'm sorry to hear that you are dealing with uncertainty and feeling scared while waiting for the results.

    Anxiety UK and Mind have some useful resources and strategies for managing anxiety. Breast Cancer Now also has advice on coping and reducing anxiety.

    You may also benefit from talking to someone about your fears and worries. Your GP would be best placed to look at local services to support you with this.

    Or please consider giving us a call – we are so much better at providing information and support in sensitive situations such as these when we can talk together. Our contact details are at the bottom of my response. I think we can be so much more helpful to you by telephone.

    Take Care

    Gemma. Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email

    Ref:FP/GeS