Hi Barbara- I’m so sorry to hear of what you are going through post mastectomy: My situation is a bit different to yours, but I’m sharing my experience after radiation and a mastectomy, in case something is useful for you. I was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, had a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy, chemo, a year of Herceptin and three weeks of radiation. In September 2021, I was diagnosed with a loco-regional recurrence in the same breast, and had a mastectomy and axillary clearance. Like you, i had radiation the first time, and there was concern from a few surgeons about the damage done to my skin, and how it would impact my surgery, especially as I wanted reconstruction. I had a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction but due to my previously irradiation, my surgeon had to make some modifications, and I have some very thick and painful scars as a result. I was told to massage the area, and have been doing so twice a day for three months now around the scars and the tissue near my scarring, and also been working with a physiotherapist. While it is really painful sometimes even to touch my skin around the mastectomy site, ultimately it does seem to be improving the pain and the bulkiness of the scar and surrounds. I have also recently started using a cream called Cicaplast, which is supposed to be for traumatised skin - I figure that anything I can use to soften and maybe heal skin and tissue that has been both irradiated and subjected to surgical trauma is a good thing! I hope things improve for you soon, and you find something to lessen the pain and discomfort. Take care, Victoria
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.