Injuries and symptoms of Breast radiation damage.
Radiation damage injury as reported by R.A.G.E. is rare, and much occurred some years ago. Anyone thinking that they are suffering damage needs an expert medical diagnosis.
BRACHIAL PLEXUS NERVE INJURY.
Affects fingers, hand, arm shoulder & neck of the treated side. Intense tingling like pins and needles in all or part of the affected area. Numbness of skin. Extremely poor circulation leading to frostbite effect in fingers; Hands always cold, even in hot weather.
CREEPING PARALYSIS of all or part of the hand and arm of the affected side.
Arm drops as muscles waste from lack of use. Hardness in shoulder area,
stiffness of movement. Shoulder can dislocate. Locking of joints. Severe
cramping & spasm.
SEVERE UNRELIEVABLE PAIN
Can occur in all or part of the affected area. Strong Opiates are prescribed in many cases & various pain regimes e.g. nerve blocks, Tens machines, Acupuncture, Steroid injections. Some women have their affected arm amputated because of the intense pain.
SPONTANEOUS BONE FRACTURE.
Bones affected are ribs, arm, collar bone, shoulder blade. Fractures heal slowly or not at all. Vertebrae, Sternum & collar bone 'crumbling'. Bone Necrosis.
RESPIRITORY PROBLEMS CAUSED BY LUNG DAMAGE.
Condition known as 'Penumonitis'. Breathlessness & much distress. Some cases treated for 'life' by Steroids and Nebulisers. Similar damage to Trachea, Bronchii and chest wall. Death has occurred from this complication.
Blood vessels affected, bypass surgery may be necessary.
SEVERE PROGRESSIVE SKIN CONDITIONS.
These are difficult to treat and can become chronic. Burns, sores, inflammation, intense sensitivity and severe rashes akin to shingles. Skin slowly degenerates, bad scaring. Plastic surgery sometimes needed. Mastectomy necessary if degeneration too bad to support plastic surgery.
Burning of the Oesophagus leading to scaring. Symptoms akin to Hiatus Hernia, Very painful and distressing. 'Lump in throat'.
Swelling of arm on affected side often accompanied by intense pain and restricted movement. Can lead to infection and Cellulitis.
''The chief problems reported were those of unrelieved pain, characteristically neuropathic in character, and paralysis of the hand and then the whole arm. Further complications included bone necrosis and pain, lung damage, severe fibrosis and Lymphoedema''.
A quote from 'management of adverse effects following Breast Radiotherapy'
published by the Royal College of Radiologists in collaboration with R.A.G.E.
A further publication, also a joint effort, is 'Brachial Plexus Neuropathy following Radiotherapy for Breast Carcinoma'. This document confirms the reality of certain adverse effects and suggests the possible reasons - too higher dose of radiation, method of delivery and individual sensitivity are mentioned. The document makes recommendations for improvements in the future. Both of these publications were as a result of pressure on the Department of Health by R.A.G.E. members.