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Could this be a side effect from lymph node removal?

Forums Cutaneous Melanoma Community Could this be a side effect from lymph node removal?

  • Post
    lhaley
    Participant

      I had 5 nodes removed in October that were under the collar bone. They went in on the side of the breast to get to the area.  In Dec. my breast started turning pink. I went to my gyn and she put me on an antibiotic, she wanted me to go back and see my surgeon. I called him and from the description he wanted to wait to see if the antibiotic helped ,(I have to travel to see him) everyone was thinking mastitiis.  It started to get lighter then 2 weeks later it was back. Happened to be at family Dr. and she put me on another antibiotic.

      I had 5 nodes removed in October that were under the collar bone. They went in on the side of the breast to get to the area.  In Dec. my breast started turning pink. I went to my gyn and she put me on an antibiotic, she wanted me to go back and see my surgeon. I called him and from the description he wanted to wait to see if the antibiotic helped ,(I have to travel to see him) everyone was thinking mastitiis.  It started to get lighter then 2 weeks later it was back. Happened to be at family Dr. and she put me on another antibiotic. I called surgeon again and he wanted me to see a infectious disease Dr. Found out I needed a referral. Went to local oncologist and she agreed but had me use warm compresses and massage and said to come back the next day to see if it helped. It did get lighter but in the meanwhile my liver counts were checked and were extremly high so that had to be dealt with. It was a drug interaction from the antibiotics and my cholesteral meds. Referral was never made.

      It was now time for me to go to Charlotte to see Dr Amin (mel specialist). He took one look at the breast and went and got Dr. White (my surgeon who also specializes in breasts and mel). He ordered a diagnostic mammo and ultrasound.  This was done at home. Results were inconclusive with them seeing changes of thickening of the skin and wanted punch biopsies to exclude inflamatory breast cancer. In the meanwhile I've seen both my family Dr. again and my local oncologist. So off to the derm I go today. It was red when I walked in and by the time he sterelized the area and marked what he wanted to do the area had faded somewhat!  He then decided that a punch biopsy would be looking for a needle in a haystack since the pinkness was so evenly distributed over the entire breast.  He suggested a breast specialist he knew in the next town. Came home and called and …… she has retired. 

      I am so confused!  Here I am stable with stage IV mel (watching 2 nodules in lungs), my mel has always been a bit different with it presenting twice in the bladder. I'm sorry this is so long but if you are still following could this be a result of the nodes being removed?  A few Drs. have speculated that there could have been damage to the lymphatic pathway but they just don't know.  I can live with a pink breast (it does not hurt) but if it is a form of breast cancer then I have to take action.  When I had massive reconstruction on the other breast from surgery with mel I did not have this discoloration issue.

      Any help would be appreciated,

      Linda

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    • Replies
        Vermont_Donna
        Participant

          Hi Linda,

          I am so sorry to hear that you are having these post op problems…..and who knows what this really is….BUT my two cents is that too many doctors are involved…..Generally you should seek follow up care from the doctor who is treating you initially for the problem unless THAT doctor refers you out…ie you had surgery with this surgeon and now you are having a problem in that area…so GO BACK TO THAT SURGEON. Let him decide the course of treatment or who should follow. I know its a pain to travel, but many of us need to do that. (My cancer care, including surgery, etc is 100 miles one way away but thats where I go).

          The thing is that if this does turn out to be melanoma related your gyn isnt going to know treatment options, protocols, etc. Maybe it seemed like a breast infection, but I think returning to the surgeon would have let him decide if he thought it was and what treatment you needed. So at this point you have been on a round of antibiotics and its still pink. I dont know the next step except its not clear to me if you have returned to see the surgeon who performed the surgery?? Most other things you can deal with ie breast infection, etc….the real issue is whether this is some kind of melanoma process going on…..see your surgeon and hopefully he is an oncology surgeon and your melanoma oncologist (hopefully you have one).

          I hope that you dont take my post as criticism, it is in no way meant to be that. I worked in the health field for many years and people dont always understand the flow of how medical care is optimized.

          Get better quick!

          Vermont_Donna

          stage 3a

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            lhaley
            Participant

              Donna,

              Dr. White is the surgeon that did my original surgery. He's the one that asked for the mammo and ultrasound.  Between the clear PETand no nodes at all showing in the mammo he doesn't believe that it's mel related.  It was him and my mel specialist that turned this back to my local Drs.  to have the mammo and ultrasound.  He has a copy of the report. Maybe I need to call again and ask what my next step should be.

              They are all perplexed and this seems to be unique to them. 

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              lhaley
              Participant

                Donna,

                Dr. White is the surgeon that did my original surgery. He's the one that asked for the mammo and ultrasound.  Between the clear PETand no nodes at all showing in the mammo he doesn't believe that it's mel related.  It was him and my mel specialist that turned this back to my local Drs.  to have the mammo and ultrasound.  He has a copy of the report. Maybe I need to call again and ask what my next step should be.

                They are all perplexed and this seems to be unique to them. 

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              Vermont_Donna
              Participant

                Hi Linda,

                I am so sorry to hear that you are having these post op problems…..and who knows what this really is….BUT my two cents is that too many doctors are involved…..Generally you should seek follow up care from the doctor who is treating you initially for the problem unless THAT doctor refers you out…ie you had surgery with this surgeon and now you are having a problem in that area…so GO BACK TO THAT SURGEON. Let him decide the course of treatment or who should follow. I know its a pain to travel, but many of us need to do that. (My cancer care, including surgery, etc is 100 miles one way away but thats where I go).

                The thing is that if this does turn out to be melanoma related your gyn isnt going to know treatment options, protocols, etc. Maybe it seemed like a breast infection, but I think returning to the surgeon would have let him decide if he thought it was and what treatment you needed. So at this point you have been on a round of antibiotics and its still pink. I dont know the next step except its not clear to me if you have returned to see the surgeon who performed the surgery?? Most other things you can deal with ie breast infection, etc….the real issue is whether this is some kind of melanoma process going on…..see your surgeon and hopefully he is an oncology surgeon and your melanoma oncologist (hopefully you have one).

                I hope that you dont take my post as criticism, it is in no way meant to be that. I worked in the health field for many years and people dont always understand the flow of how medical care is optimized.

                Get better quick!

                Vermont_Donna

                stage 3a

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                CarolA
                Participant

                  Linda,  

                  I had a similar experience after my total lymph node dissection (left axilla), no evidence of melinoma in any of the nodes.   My  left breast turned pinkish,  at times darker pink (almost wine-stained looking), primarily the bottom half of the breast.  It was almost like a line where it ended and began.    It didn't feel hot to the touch, it didn't cause me discomfort, that I can recall, this was back in Oct 2005 (orig diag March 2005, SNB with two nodes affected, follow-up on a Study that had the axilla area monitored by ultra-sound).   It looked like cellulitis to some.   I was treated with antibiotics and also had a punch biopsy done, which had no evidence of mel.    It was determined that it was lymphatic fluid redistributing or trying to go somewhere.   

                  I had some lymphedema in the left arm and went for massage therapy twice a week for maybe a month or more immediately following the antibiotics and punch biopsy.   I can't believe I am going to say that I don't remember when the coloration inthe breast stopped, but it never came back.   Time is having me lose track of the different medical incidences in those earlier years with mel.

                  You may recall, Linda, that I did have recurrences on that left breast, several recurrences that were such tiny, little red specks my derm could hardly believe that upon removal they were mel.   I had removals done 3 times starting in 2007 and on the 4th occurance,  I ended up having a mastectomy in 2008 and there was no evidence of melanoma in that breast.   That was some WLE!! and so far, so good.  

                  My unlicensed MD opinion is that maybe you are having issues with fluid, too.  I am hoping that is simply that.   I remember thinking that texture of the breast skin seemed thicker, too.   I hope my experience gives you some reassurances.   It sounds like your doctors have covered the bases.   My best to you.

                  CarolA

                  Amherst, NY

                  Stage III and holding        

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                    lhaley
                    Participant

                      Carol,

                      Thank you for the reassurance!  Your description sounds just like my breast! I can draw a line right where it stops! My mel was just in the nodes on that side, the tumor was on the other breast.  I'm hoping it is just fluid.  Not glad that you had to deal with it but nice knowing that it happened to someone else!  I went to a lymphodema massage therapist when I had the first breast surgery. Maybe I'll call my onc and have him right me a referral for this.

                      Thanks!

                      Linda

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                      lhaley
                      Participant

                        Carol,

                        Thank you for the reassurance!  Your description sounds just like my breast! I can draw a line right where it stops! My mel was just in the nodes on that side, the tumor was on the other breast.  I'm hoping it is just fluid.  Not glad that you had to deal with it but nice knowing that it happened to someone else!  I went to a lymphodema massage therapist when I had the first breast surgery. Maybe I'll call my onc and have him right me a referral for this.

                        Thanks!

                        Linda

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                      CarolA
                      Participant

                        Linda,  

                        I had a similar experience after my total lymph node dissection (left axilla), no evidence of melinoma in any of the nodes.   My  left breast turned pinkish,  at times darker pink (almost wine-stained looking), primarily the bottom half of the breast.  It was almost like a line where it ended and began.    It didn't feel hot to the touch, it didn't cause me discomfort, that I can recall, this was back in Oct 2005 (orig diag March 2005, SNB with two nodes affected, follow-up on a Study that had the axilla area monitored by ultra-sound).   It looked like cellulitis to some.   I was treated with antibiotics and also had a punch biopsy done, which had no evidence of mel.    It was determined that it was lymphatic fluid redistributing or trying to go somewhere.   

                        I had some lymphedema in the left arm and went for massage therapy twice a week for maybe a month or more immediately following the antibiotics and punch biopsy.   I can't believe I am going to say that I don't remember when the coloration inthe breast stopped, but it never came back.   Time is having me lose track of the different medical incidences in those earlier years with mel.

                        You may recall, Linda, that I did have recurrences on that left breast, several recurrences that were such tiny, little red specks my derm could hardly believe that upon removal they were mel.   I had removals done 3 times starting in 2007 and on the 4th occurance,  I ended up having a mastectomy in 2008 and there was no evidence of melanoma in that breast.   That was some WLE!! and so far, so good.  

                        My unlicensed MD opinion is that maybe you are having issues with fluid, too.  I am hoping that is simply that.   I remember thinking that texture of the breast skin seemed thicker, too.   I hope my experience gives you some reassurances.   It sounds like your doctors have covered the bases.   My best to you.

                        CarolA

                        Amherst, NY

                        Stage III and holding        

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                        LynnLuc
                        Participant

                          <<<shaking head>>> call the doc back and get another referral…or get a biopsy…I don't think I would rest until I knew for sure one way or another…=:o) Lynn

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                          LynnLuc
                          Participant

                            <<<shaking head>>> call the doc back and get another referral…or get a biopsy…I don't think I would rest until I knew for sure one way or another…=:o) Lynn

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