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Living well with cancer: Understanding Axillary Web Syndrome AKA Cording

By March 27, 2024No Comments

Understanding Axillary Web Syndrome AKA Cording.

For many women or men who have undergone treatment for breast cancer, recovery typically involves various challenges which may include axillary web syndrome, also known as cording. Cording is a condition characterised by the development of tight bands or cords of tissue in the affected area, typically running from surgical scar in the arm pit that traces its way along the arm, across the chest wall or down the lateral side of the body and across the ribs. It manifests as visible or palpable bands under the skin, causing discomfort, restricted movement, and sometimes pain. Depending where the cord sits on the musculature, it may also be difficult to see or feel or even detect, with the patient often complaining of unknown pain causing restricted range of motion, or in the case of the cord running across the ribs, pain when taking deep breaths.

Cording most commonly occurs as a result of surgical procedures, such as lymph node dissection, breast lumpectomy or mastectomy where the fascia, which is a thin layer of connective tissue surrounding muscles can be unintentionally injured or disrupted. This disruption can lead to the formation of fibrous bands or cords within the fascia, hence the condition known as cording. These bands tether the skin to deeper tissues, causing the characteristic appearance and symptoms of cording, such as restricted movement and discomfort.

For those experiencing cording after breast cancer treatment, seeking support and guidance from healthcare professionals is essential. Bloomhill Cancer Care offers comprehensive support tailored to the unique needs of each patient, including management strategies for cording. Through our multidisciplinary approach, patients can access various treatment options aimed at alleviating symptoms and improving overall wellbeing.


Please contact our Nurses on 07 5445 5794 or [email protected] if you have any questions.

The information in this document is based on resources from the Cancer Council Queensland. All information provided by Bloomhill is based on research and best practice guidelines. Our model of care utilizes the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) domains of wellness along with available clinical evidence. Always consult your care team regarding matters that affect your health. This is a guide intended for information only.