Pain under ribs

Hi everyone,

I am a year an a half after treatment for 1b1. I had chemo, radio and Brachy. All checkups have been fine and no further problems until a couple of weeks ago.

I started getting awful pain under the bottom of my right ribs. This is worst at night and keeps me awake. It is worse after eating fatty foods and alcohol. If I have them then the pain is really bad. The only thing that helps is peppermint tea and wind tablets , though it doesn’t seem like wind.

The problem is I am too frightened to go to a doctor or nurse. I’m terrified of recurrence and even if it isn’t cancer related I am too traumatised to go for a scan or have any tests. I can’t even bear to call the doctor or nurse and tell them. I’m so frightened that this is a recurrence and I am going to die. The fear is preventing me from getting help but the pain is awful.

Any words of advice? I know I’m being stupid but I’m overcome with fear of anything medical.

Hey Lady Adur!

I just read your post and I don’t want to run without saying anything. I know for a fact that once you’ve diagnosed with cancer, you tend to think that every little niggle, twinge, pain or cough is associated with cancer. However, I do think that painful feeling under your ribs can be caused by GERD, indigestion issue, or inflammation or infection of the gallbladder.

If you really don’t want to see your doctor, perhaps you can try to change your lifestyle first and see if it works. For example (this applies for any digestive issues, I supposed): eating four or five smaller meals throughout the day, using a wedge pillow to avoid reflux, avoiding spicy foods or soda, and staying up after eating. However, if the pain does not go away after you do all the things I mentioned above, I would advise you to go and see your doctor (not because I think the pain below your ribs is a recurrence, but at least, they might observe what’s the cause and prescribe you with medicine that will alleviate/get rid of the pain).

I know you feel traumatised and too frightened to go to see your doctor or to do any test or scan but it’s better to get things under control, rather than not knowing the reason behind your pain. Fingers crossed it’s nothing sinister and it’s just a normal digestive issues. Keep us posted, okay? Sending you big hugs, strength, and support! xx


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Under your right ribs sounds like gallbladder - especially if it’s worse eating fatty foods - either gallbladder infection or gallstones. Diet can help; you may need treatment and if it is gallstones it can get very painful indeed. What it doesn’t sound like is cancer. If the pain is awful I would bet on the gallbladder and please get it checked out.

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Thank you so much ladies. Your messages gave me the courage to ring my specialist nurse. She told me it wasn’t related to the cancer and to see my GP. Here I am a week later in hospital waiting to have my gallbladder removed. Nothing to do with cancer. Note to self - not everything is cancer!

Feel a bit of a fool now.

Live Becky x


Dear Becky,

Not a fool at all! We’re just relieved you found the courage to tell your GP and get it sorted. Gallbladder is very painful and it’s great news that they’ve fast tracked you to get it sorted out. We’re all thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery. X

By the way this has been the problem sometimes with the pandemic - not everything is COVID either! :roll_eyes:


That definitely sounds like gallstones. I do get these same attacks. The pain only goes away with painkillers, then after a few hours it will subside. I know for a fact I have gallstones. But they wont take it out yet, because I have those attacks about once a month or less. If they get more frequent they do want to take the gallbladder out. Gallstones form because of medicine we take (including chemo).

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