It is not unusual to experience pain following surgical, radiation, or chemotherapy treatment for cancer. The pain may have a primary cause, as in the wounds from incisions and the burns from irradiated tissue, or it may be secondary, as in the numbness that results from nerve changes associated with cancer treatment. A variety of approaches can help to effectively manage pain: soft tissue massage, instrument assisted massage, ultrasound, dry needling, and laser therapy.
Neuropathy, or a set of symptoms caused by damage to nerves that control sensations and movements in the limbs, is experienced by cancer patients as a painful numbness at the surgical sites (original surgical site and/or harvest/reconstruction sites) and drain sites. It can also be experienced as a complication from chemotherapy, particularly in the hands and feet. Manual physical therapy is often very successful at restoring sensation and, at the least, at alleviating painful numbness or hyperesthesia.
In cancer patients who are post-mastectomy, nerve damage may manifest as Post Mastectomy Pain Syndrome (PMPS), which creates significant issues of increased sensitivity. For the patient, wearing bras or certain clothing can be extremely uncomfortable or even downright painful.