Mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy and axillary dissection can cause nerve pain in the arm, and mastectomy can cause nerve pain on the chest wall. This may feel like pins and needles. It usually settles within a few weeks. If pain is ongoing, ask your doctor about ways to manage it.
Certain chemotherapy drugs can damage nerves in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy or chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Symptoms include:
- pins and needles
- pain, occasionally.
These symptoms are usually temporary, but can be permanent.
If you have any symptoms, tell your health care team so they can adjust your treatment. Your doctor will help you manage pain from any permanent nerve damage. A psychologist or counsellor can also teach you coping strategies to manage any ongoing pain.
Prof Bruce Mann, Professor of Surgery, The University of Melbourne, and Director, Breast Tumour Stream, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Marie Burke, Radiation Oncologist, and Medical Director GenesisCare Oncology, QLD; Dr Susan Fraser, Breast Physician, Cairns Hospital and Marlin Coast Surgery Cairns, QLD; Ruth Groom, Consumer; Julie McGirr, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; A/Prof Catriona McNeil, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Dr Roya Merie, Staff Specialist, Radiation Oncology, Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Hospital, NSW; Dr Eva Nagy, Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Sydney Oncoplastic Surgery, NSW; Gay Refeld, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Breast Care, St John of God Subiaco Hospital, WA; Genny Springham, Consumer.
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