Rib, Breast, & Armpit Pain

I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in 1996. Up until this year, the symptoms have restricted themselves to poor breathing, and only during periodic flare-ups. Now there seems to be additional symptoms. (Although my doctor has not associated them necessarily with Sarcoidosis, however I suspect that they are related.)
Symptoms: Pain in the left armpit, pain in the lower ribcage, breast pain - especially in the left breast. All of this comes and goes. May stay for weeks or days, then disappear. Maybe one month later it returns.
I have had many, many tests and scans, to include Pet, Cat, Xrays, Bone, & MRI. Although a noncancerous lump has been identified under the left breast, it is small and never changes.. Therefore the surgeon does not want to do surgery at this time.
I have read some discussions with similar pain. Has anyone out there experience similar symptoms? What did you do about it.

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I was diagnosed in April/May 07.

I have similar pain. I call them Sac growing pains ;)
I get them just to the right of the left breast, underneath the breast, and occasionally in th earn pit area. My doc just took a new X-ray and noticed some sort of calcified node in the upper left part of my lung. I go in for a CT Scan with contrast next week.

If I had to guess the pain comes and goes when my lymph nodes are swollen. Depending on how often and painful the chest pains it usually signals to me when I'm having a relapse, especially if I start wheezing or have pains in my upper back when I breathe.

The pain just to the right of my left breast is with me almost all the time, at times I can even feel the lymph node by touching the skin, and it is painful to touch.

I would talk to your Pulmonary doc and see if he'll put you on a low dose of prednisone for a few weeks.

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Did they biopsy the lump to see if it had the Sarcoid granulomas or did they just test it for cancer?

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Hi Debbers I was recently diagnosed with sarcoid and I had the open lung biopsy done 2.5 weeks ago.Fortunatly ity it was done orthscopiclly.(VATS).
My only symptom was shortness of breath. The B.S. My family and I went throught is a whole nother story on getting this dioagnosis.
The only thing I can tell you is that those flare ups could be your lymphnods becomming swolen because it does attack them as well.
The only way to really find out how bad and where it is is to have the open lung biopsy done the new way of course (VATS). Its a hospital stay of only three days tops.They tried a bronchiascope and that was a waste of time.
I dont know how much you know about Sarcoid if you are having pain like that and shortness of breath you need medication to shrink the granulomas inside your lungs.
The medication I just started is a steriod called prednisone. Its suppose to shrink the granulomas so the shortness of breath is releaved.

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I was recently diagnosed, but the pain you mention is already very familiar to me. The armpit and breast pain must be lymph node related, and does come and go. I also have constant pain at the bottom of the left rib cage area that I don't have a clue on. I am sure it's sarc related, but don't know the cause. I had a renal ultrasound this week, and it's clear, so I don't know what they will do next . Guess I'll just have to live with it.

You don't mention if you are taking any meds, but if you are worried about the lump you could go back to the doctor. The lump under your left breast might not even be related to sarc, it could just be a fatty tumor or sebaceous cyst. If it isn't painful, and isn't changing, don't lose sleep over it. My spouse had a large cyst on the left chest years ago, which we referred to as his "third nipple". He chose to remove it after about a year. Since then he's also had 2 on his back removed, at my insistence, because the first one was so large it was visible beneath his shirts. Some of us just grow these things, and they are more unsightly than anything else.

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I had some strange dull aching pains in my armpit and chest area about three years ago. It got to be bad enough that I was concerned and went to see the doctor about it, but he really wasn't concerned. The pains came and went and then it stopped altogether.

I was just recently diagnosed, bu now I'm wondering now if this was one of the first signs of sarc!

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I have a persistent pain under my right rib. It just will not go away. It keeps me awake at night. I thought it was my gall bladder. After reading all your posts - I'm thinking it's not my gall bladder!

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Hi Deb
Before my actual sarc dx, I got lumps under my armpits and groin, I was always told they were ingrown hairs. Very painful. Turned out to be the sarc in the lymph nodes. They come and go at will.
As for the pain under your ribs, do you have a gall bladder? Where exactly is the pain? does it radiate ? is it only on the right side? This could be gall Bladder.
If both sides, it could again be the pesty lymph nodes or lungs. How bad is the pain. is it livable and fixed with tylenol or advil? if not you should request something for the pain. Don't worry. if the doc is a good sarc doc he will not think you are a junky. Sarc can hurt really bad some days. I take tramadol 3x daily for pain as well as clinoril(NSAID)200mg 2x daily for pain and swelling. My rheumy told me if it still does not fully help the pain to let her know.
The lymph nodes grow and shrink. If they shrink, they will not show up on CTS or MRI's etc. Doesn't mean that they do not have sarc in them. if you have sarc in even one lymph node, it can play hopscotch to all of them and come and go.
Just do not allow them to make you suffer with the pain!!!
Hope this helps some.
Be Well

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i had similar pain for a long time. spent a lot of time trying to find a bra with no wire and a very soft band, prior to that holding the wire away from me when i sat!!!LOL now have this only occasionally.

a lot of members have speculated that this is due to lymph node swelling, others think it may be an enlarged spleen - have you had an abdominal ultrasound?

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I had this same pain before remicade...they did an abdominal ultra sound and saw enlarged lymphs on the pancreas...after 3 remicade treatments i was doing pretty good...but my the doc office staff did not follow up with my insurance and i have not had another treatment in over 11 weeks...i can feel myself filling back up again...i am schedualed for remicade to start again next week and am hoping to find relief...the emotional stress of this disease is taking its toll on me...

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Hi Nanner. Could you please describe the pain at the bottom of the left side of your rib cage for me? I've had problems with this area for almost 2 years and my doctor says it's floating ribs but I suspect not. I got told to do pilates to fix my floating ribs but no-one told me what to do with the chest pain and the knife pains through the heart so that I can do the pilates!

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Hi Debbers. Could I ask you to describe the lower ribcage pain you mention? I've also asked Nanners below to do the same. Thank you.

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Hey Deb,

Sounds like lymph nodes to me! My sarc is in my lungs, lymph nodes, breasts, liver, nerves, etc. If the doc does not want to biopsy the breast tissue, you could request a galium scan! This is what showed the sarc in my Breasts.

I get the pain in the breasts, armpits, groin, and everyplace else that lymph nodes are close to the surface. Nothing much to do about it, other than soak in epsom salts, and maybe a heating pad. Heat definitely helps. Also try warm, wet compresses. As you said, it does come and go. There is really no way to keep it from coming back, rather just to make it a little more bearable when it is active.

A Galium scan may be a good idea if you have not had one. it is a neck to knees scan of your body that shows sarc wherever it may be hiding. you get injected with the galium then come back to the hospital 24 hours later for the actual test. This gives the galium time to settle into the sarc areas. it will glow brightly on the scan! It does give you a decent amount of radiation, however within 3 days it is gone. it is kind of worth it though considering all the separate CT scans, x-rays, etc that you will not need to do if you already know where everything is! The test generally lasts 60-90 min unless they find something they wish to investigate further. mine lasted an additional 60 minutes as they wanted to go over the liver and abdomen again.

Hope this helps!

Be well and have a great long weekend!!!


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Tawney, sorry for the delayed reply. I've been on vacation and am just getting caught up on email and such.

The pain is at the bottom of my left rib cage, and more felt towards the back. It is more toward the spine than the outside of the ribs. It had subsided for quite a while, but has reappeared in the past 2 weeks. While it isn't always there, I will get a sharp pain on occasion. I have no clue what the cause is. Floating ribs? What the heck is that?

I see the pulmonologist in 2 weeks and do intend to ask about this pain if it doesn't subside again. The changes just keep on coming, don't they?

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I've had pain under my left ribs for around 3 years. Before my diagnosis the doctor kept insisting it was a pulled muscle. It comes and goes but increases with sarcoid flares. Apparently your spleen can be filled with sarcoid that you are aware of but that they simply acknowledge and don't feel they have to do much about. I also feel pain along the bra line on the left which I assume is lymph node pain.

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Hi Nanner. Hope you had a great vacation! Wouldn't it be nice if we could take a vacation from the aches too...wishful thinking! I think floating ribs are just the bottom pair of ribs, which are only fully attached at the back and not attached at the front so your ribcage can expand so you can breathe. I think Floating Rib Syndrome is when the ribs slip or stick into your tummy muscle and that kind of thing. I can't figure my ribs out. My spleen isn't swollen, so it can't be the spleen. I've just decided that it's one of those inflammatory things, worse when my chest flares. Questions, questions, questions...never any answers! It's always there on a low simmer for me which is okay, it's just the flare times. It will be interesting to see what your pulmonologist says about yours.

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Nonna, is your spleen actually swollen along with the rib soreness or is the spleen area just tender? It's been a long time since Biology at school but I'm actually starting to understand what function all our body parts have this last couple of months!

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I have Scoliois (double curve) and my chiropractor told me that anything that I might get would be worse because of it. It is severe and when I was diagnosed with Sarc I really could tell the difference in lung lengths. The left one is shorter and I can tell which is back pain and which is Sarc ;which side it's on, it moves around too. I will have to make a decision about surgery possibly? But until then I pray and try to keep my mind on my daughter's upcoming wedding and the present moment -now. Godspeed!

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You don't have to have a swollen spleen for it to hurt due to sarcoid. That is the problem. On an ultrasound it looks just fine. My spleen pain is almost always there to some degree but increases at times but when I first felt it was really uncomfortable especially in some positions. Everything can look and feel normal externally. Now it is harder for me to tell what hurts most, the spleen or lymph nodes along the bra line on the left--both give me fits. I'll be going to Dr. Sharma at USC in two weeks and hope to have some answers. He is supposed to be an expert.

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Hi Debbers-
I have pain on the right side under my rib cage. I had my gallbladder taken out about two months ago. My Dr. thinks I'm still sore from the surgery -but it fells as if I never had it out. The pain is exactly the same. It fells like my insides are pulling almost like someone is stretching them. Sometimes there is a sharp pain. But it's worse when I walk. Everything tightens up. Just wondering if anybody else is going through this?

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Really, Nonna, the spleen doesn't have to be swollen? I wish my doctor understood that. Like you, my left rib area is always a bit pesky but it's just the big flares that are a real problem. My chest and ribs flare together and I get very tender around lymph areas at the same time but they don't actually swell either. So the tender bits and pains get discounted because I can't produce swollen bits. I was told to do Pilates to strengthen my core muscles but I can't - my chest and legs won't allow that. I suspect my core muscles are the only muscles that have retained strength anyway - spend enough years at a ballet barre and those muscles forget how to relax. Could you let us all know how your visit with Dr Sharma goes? Thanks and good luck!

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