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How Is Post-Mastectomy Pain Possible?

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A mastectomy can be a lifesaving procedure for many women that suffer from breast cancer. After the breasts are removed, it removes any possibilities of developing breast cancer again. Unfortunately, there are some complications that can come after the mastectomy. Along with the risk for infection, a risk that the cancer has spread to other areas, and the emotional traumas of having the breasts removed, many women complain about the ongoing pain.

Women that are experiencing post-mastectomy pain often think that their symptoms are the result of breast cancer returning, but this is not the case since there is no longer any breast tissue. Instead, post-mastectomy pain syndrome can be the result of neurological misfires to the area where a breast used to be. It can also be the result of scar tissue and improper healing after the surgery. Many doctors are still trying to figure out exactly how the pain is caused.


For some women, the pain that they experience after a mastectomy can feel like a simple side effect of the surgery that will go away over time. For many women, the pain does not go away. It can range in severity from mild to debilitating and can greatly affect the quality of life. Women that are experiencing this pain do not have much in the way of treatment options, but there are some things that have been proven to help with the pain. Mild pain can be relieved with over the counter pain medication. Topical analgesics and local anesthetics are also an option. Women who are suffering from extreme pain years after a mastectomy may benefit from nerve blocks, which block the pain signals that are sent from nerve endings to the brain.

Whether you have been suffering with post-mastectomy pain for one year or ten years, it is not something that many women expect after having their breasts removed. It can be a burden to deal with, but doctors are working hard to come up with solutions to the problem in the way of treatment options – as well as how the surgery is performed – to better prevent instances of post-mastectomy pain syndrome from occurring after women undergo the surgery.