Minor questions for nurse

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Hi I have stage 4; oesophagus cancer. I was diagnosed in 2019 and oncologist couldn't guarantee me 6 months.

I had 4 flot chemo, on 1st cycle I got sepsis and ost all my hair but it then spread to liver and lymph nodes.  

I had a further 5 ECX treatment, then 10 radiotherapy. My liver is clear now and last chemo was Feb 2020, and radiotherapy Oct 2020.  I have had CT scans every 3 months but the last one was beginning of June, was 6 month scan, my results are on Mon Pray. I know it will never go but I pray it stays stable.

I have a couple of minor questions compared to everything else.

***Can I use a tens machine as I have back problems and sciatica with I take tramadol and occasionally Oramorph.  Haven't needed my tens until just recently where my knees are playing up which is aggravating the sciatica.

***Can I use foot peels, I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet and toes.  I had a lot of trouble with my feet during treatments.  I always wear heat holder socks, even in summer...so hard skin builds up no matter his much I use creams.

***I'm 61, and I got shingles on my face, eyelid and scalp in Jan 2021.  I keep seeing adverts for the injection, but when getting flu jab nurse said I didn't need it, only needed once.  Should I be getting an injection, as I've read that you can get shingles more than once.

Sorry for such a long story and such minor questions.

Thank you 


  • Hello Marion

    Thanks for getting in touch and for your questions. Welcome to the online community and I hope you find the forums you have joined helpful. My name is Linda and I’m one of the cancer information nurse specialists on the Macmillan Support Line

    You mention that you have back problems and sciatica, have you had this for some time or is it new. If it’s new I would strongly encourage you to speak with your team. You also mention new knee pain, it’s best to report this too.

    Some cancers can spread to the spine and some people can develop a (MSCC) Malignant Spinal cord compression. It would be unusual for your type of cancer but it’s serious and needs urgent attention. So please contact your team urgently if your symptoms are new.

    A tens machine can be very helpful, was this suggested to you by a physiotherapist or other health professional.  Always better to ask if it’s safe for you to use. It’s difficult for us to say for certain, as we do not know your medical history.

    It may be helpful to visit a podiatrist to seek advice about your feet, they can treat your feet and will be able to say whether they feel a foot peel is appropriate for you. It’s difficult for us to say if the chemicals in the peel are safe for you to use.

    The shingles vaccine is available to patients 50 and over who are considered to have a weakened immune system. I would encourage you to discuss this again with the nurse and/or your cancer team. The nurse can clarify why she thinks you do not require it.

    I hope this helps.

    Best wishes

    Linda J.  Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email.

    Ref: LJ/KA