Will I experience any pain? 


Pain is an individual experience. It is important to speak with your health care team if you begin to experience pain so they can help you manage the pain and/or discomfort. 


Breast cancer treatment that causes little or no pain for one woman may cause discomfort for another. Any pain or discomfort you may experience can be due to several factors including surgical pain, radiation pain and/or neuropathy.


  1. Surgical pain: Some women will feel pain and discomfort immediately after surgery and for a short time after surgery. Unavoidable tissue and nerve damage after surgery may be some of the reasons why women experience pain. If there is new pain that comes on a few days or weeks after surgery associated with fevers, redness or swelling of the breast, you should ensure you do not have an infection.​


  1. Pain as side effects from radiation and chemotherapy: Radiation does not usually cause significant pain but may cause discomfort. Pain from external radiation depends on the part of the body that’s treated. Radiation to the breast may cause redness or ‘burning’ of the skin which may cause discomfort.

        Chemotherapy may cause headaches, muscle and joint pains, stomach pains or sometimes neuropathy, which usually consists of   

        numbness, burning or shooting pains from the toes and/or fingers.


  1. Chest wall, shoulder and arm pain: Some patients get this pain from the combination of surgery and radiation that can come later after the treatment. Physiotherapy is often helpful to relieve the pain.


  1. Advanced or recurrent cancer (often called metastatic cancer) can be associated with pain if the breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones. This pain is often relieved by treatment or appropriate pain medication. 


The most important thing to know is that if you experience pain, it is best to get a diagnosis of the cause of the pain and treat it. Pain can be very tiring and can interfere with the body’s ability to heal. Work with your health care team to determine the cause of pain and the treatment.