Although we make every effort to ensure accuracy, Macmillan Cancer Support cannot accept liability for this information, or for third-party information such as other websites to which we link. If you are concerned about your health you should consult your doctor. Please bear in mind that your question can be read by others - don't post your contact details or any other information that could personally identify you. All answers will be based on information that is correct at the time of posting.
Hi, I’m 3 weeks post a lumpectomy and a full node clearance in my left arm. I’ve been wearing M&S post surgical bras day and night. My problem is big, painful seromas which form outside the bra under my arm and spreading into my back and upper arm. I’ve had them drained twice so far since the drain was removed 2 weeks ago, but they come back almost straight away and are really painful. I take ibruprofen and paracetemol round the clock but they only blunt it. What should I do? Would a bigger, softer bra help, or even not wearing one sometimes (taking one off is such a relief!) ? I’d be so grateful for any advice!
Thank you for getting in touch with us and welcome to the Online Community. I’m glad to see that you’ve joined the Breast Cancer group too, there’s nothing better than getting support from those who have been through similar or the same as yourself.
I’m sorry to hear about the complications that you’ve had with recurrent seromas following your lumpectomy surgery.
I would encourage you to speak to your breast care nurse or GP about your pain management. This will allow them to review you and perhaps prescribe something a little stronger, temporarily, to help with the pain you’re having just now.
Breast Cancer Now have information on their website about bras after surgery for breast cancer. They suggest avoiding underwired bras as this can cause rubbing and discomfort on top of the already tender and healing area. Again, it might be helpful to also speak to your breast care nurse or hospital team about bras and support.
If you’re more comfortable not wearing a bra then speak with your nurse to double check that it’s okay to do this. It’s always good to double check things with your hospital team to give you that reassurance too.
Sometimes, seromas can refill and need drained again several times before they go away completely. This can take its toll emotionally as well as physically. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s important to try and look after yourself emotionally too. We don’t want you to burn out.
Please know that you can call us on the support line too to chat things over. The nurses are on the support line 7 days a week 8am-8pm. As well as providing information, we also provide a listening ear.
We have our Macmillan Information and Support Centres too, where you can pop in for a face to face chat with one of our volunteers. They provide emotional support and can point you in the direction of support available in your local area. You can search for your nearest centre and support groups here. Breast Cancer Now also offers a range of information and support. Maggie’s is another charity that offers emotional and psychological support online.
Best wishes and take care,
Thankyou! Knowing that finding the constant pain and swelling emotionally lowering is normal was a comfort. Finding a bra that works for me ( One from the internet called Macom - nylon but otherwise perfect) has transformed my pain to manageable and seems to be helping with the swelling too ). The Breast Cancer Now information on bras was also really helpful:-)
Safe payments by:
We're here to provide physical, financial and emotional support. So whatever cancer throws your way, we're right there with you.
© Macmillan Cancer Support
© Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man
(604). Also operating in Northern Ireland. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company
number 2400969. Isle of Man company number 4694F. Registered office: 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ. VAT no: