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Long-term effects of cancer treatment Q&A (Closed): Wed 17 June, 12-1pm

Priscilla - admin
Posted by

Ask our nurses your questions about the long-term effects of cancer treatment right here in the forums.

More people are surviving cancer than ever before, But, unfortunately, many of them are living with the long-term physical and emotional consequences - including fatigue, pain, bladder and bowel problems, mental health problems, sexual issues and lymphoedema.

Nurses Karen and Eileen will be here to answer your questions from 12-1pm on Wednesday 17 June.

Karen, Macmillan cancer information nurse Eileen, Macmillan cancer information nurse

To ask a question, click the 'reply' button and post a reply to this discussion thread. You will need to log in to or join the Online Community to post a question. 

If you won't be here for the chat, you can post your question any time before the chat, and our nurses will answer it when they get here. To make sure you see your answer, tick 'email me replies' when you write your post.

If you don't want to register for the community, you can email us on and we'll ask the question for you - just mark your email 'webchat'.

Outside of webchat times, you can speak to a nurse by calling the free Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 0000 (Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm, free from landlines and most mobile networks).

Although we make every effort to ensure accuracy, Macmillan Cancer Support cannot accept liability for this information, or for third-party information such as other websites to which we link. If you are concerned about your health you should consult your doctor. Please bear in mind that your question can be read by others - don't post your contact details or any other information that could personally identify you.

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Please take a few moments to fill in your profile to let people know what your connection is to Cancer, and a little about your story. This really helps us know how to answer your questions with the most relevant information

Posted by

My husband was diognosed terminal unknown primary cancer in March last year he had 8 sessions of chemo and finished in Sept last year during which he had sepsis and blood clots. In January this year the cancer was growing again and also had tumours in the spine he resumed Chemo and has had 6 sessions which has shrunk the tumours as much as they have hoped he is now having a 6 mth break befor another scan. He is still very very weak although trying to do a few things how long do things take to improve and get a decent quality of life including his appetite to come back.  My husband is 67 yrs old and had only retired a year before he was diognosed.

Posted by

I've breast cancer, a mastectomy, chemo, radiotherapy and am on Herceptin and seem to have had bowel problems ever since, can't seem to get back into my normal regular pattern, is this going to be ongoing now, my nails are also very soft and fragile.

Posted by

Hi, I'm 34 and had a lumpectomy, chemo & radiotherapy 3 1/2 yrs go. I'm still taking tamoxifen and like many i still have moments where i struggle with the emotional side of post treatment.


Every so often I am overwhelmingly tired, mentally more than physically. I find it hard to think clearly and can almost feel my brain trying to work. It can be quite upsetting. After some recovery TLC i'm ok again, until the next time. Is this common years after treatment? And if so, is it forever? Is it the tamoxifen? I'm a primary teacher, back full time and I must admit it feels so much harder than it was before. I sometimes question is it my job? I just don't know! I would like to understand this tiredness better so that I can accept it as part of my cancer recovery, if I need to, and find ways to manage it in my everyday life. 


Thank you for your help :-)

Posted by

Hi there 

i finished 7 sessions of chemo and 7 weeks of radiotherapy for CUP but thought to be connected to an episode if VIN3 I had 3 years ago. I had a blood test immediately after the treatment which showed traces of blood in my urine. I was advised to have a blood test in another few months as radiotherapy can irritate the bladder. I have since moved to another country 6 weeks later but I still feel a slight burning sensation at the end when I urinate. Is this common after treatment in the pelvic area?

regards and thanks 

Michael - Macmillan

A big thank you to those who have posted their questions in advance.

This one was sent in via email from Christine:


In June 2013 I had chemo/radiotherapy for cervical cancer this consisted of cistplastin chemo x 4 , 28 external radio therapies to my abdomen and each hip followed by 4 brachiotherapies.

in December 2013 I had a radical hysterectomy then no cancer until a recurrence discovered in November 2014 since then I've had 6 rounds of carbo/paclitaxol/ avastin was told in March after an MRI scan that I'd had a good partial result and that the cancer was controlled then I was told that I would be monitored in clinic every 8 weeks

I saw my oncologist 15/06/2015 he didn't order any tests or another scan we just chatted and he said he would see me again in 8 weeks. is this normal? I would of expected another scan also I've got slight incontinance in both my bowels and bladder - can this be due to after effects of radiotherapy ?

Thank you

mick the wolf
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Hi my name is Michael and was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel in June 2013.

I am currently in remission but am suffering from a condition called Peripheral Neuropathy which was caused by the Chemotherapy drug Oxaliplatine.

This condition affects mainly my Feet and they feel as though small Electric shocks are passing through them every time  I walk anywhere.

I have been told by my GP that there there is no specific cure for this condition and I was wondering if this is the case, and if it is is there anything you could could suggest to alleviate the symptoms.

Many thanks.

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I'm not sure that there is an answer to this, but how do I differentiate the tiredness that is an after effect of treatment (chemo, radiotherapy and brachytherapy) and tiredness that might be a symptom of a recurrence? Clearly this is anxious thinking but can you help me find a way to deal with this one please?

Michael - Macmillan

Here's another question that arrived via email - it's from Jean:


I am currently taking NILOTINIB for chronic myeloid leukaemia as I will be taking this for life what are the long term implications with this drug

 I am 59 years old and in good health otherwise

Thanks Jean 

Posted by

Hi, I finished chemotherapy 3 years ago for ovarian cancer and have had no recurrence since.  However, fatigue has blighted my life ever since and I am unable to work more than 3 days a week or travel very far or even take moderate amounts of exercise.  My oncologist advises this won't improve and I must adjust my life. Is there something I can do or take to improvethis condition? Oncology advised exercise but this makes things worse for me.  Is there somewhere I can get a better understanding of my condition? Is it the cancer or the treatment causing this?

Posted by

Hi karen and Eileen. 

I am only 3 months post chemo / radiotherapy for serous womb cancer and experiencing problems with my bowels. I have to go 2/3 times in morning and when I've eaten lunch it seems to trigger urgency within about hour of eating. Couple if occasions where it has been quite awkward. Out shopping etc out walking dog . Unfortunately it's causing me to worry about going too far from home!! On social occasion I have resorted to taking omodium. This does help but don't want to rely in this. 

Thanks susie


Posted by

Dear Karen and Eileen

Six months ago I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and am on Zoladex (hormonal therapy) injections every 12 weeks. Besides this treatment I have been told just to carry on as normal. But Zoladex loses its effectiveness after a certain amount of time, are there any specific reasons for this, and are there any actions I could take to help the drug be effective for longer?

Also Zoladex has side effects, including hot flushes, tiredness, ED. etc. do these increase over time, and again is there anything I can do to mitigate the adverse effects?

Or is it that the side effects are so severe that this limits the length of time a person can be on Zoladex?

Thank you for all your help and support.



Posted by


Like helend20, I also experience the overwhelming tiredness, which affects me mentally, but also physically.  My brain is a mixture of scrambled egg and creamed potato, and I find it difficult to have any in depth conversations as I am constantly word searching to complete a sentence.  I spend a lot of time researching things that I know, but cannot remember.  The names of books, films, people and places are often on the end of my tongue, but I just cannot think ofthem.  I am aware that I have forgotton so much that I could no longer do the job I did for years.

I can go for days feeling full of energy, then become extremely fatigued, sleeping my days and nights away.  I often think this is a result of the chemotherapy, but understand it is also down to my surgery.  I feel a bit of a woos, having only had one cycle of the Cisplatin and 5FU, compared to how much others have.  Mine was stopped after one because of the extreme reaction my body had to it, and it was felt that more would put my life at risk.  I have a systemic form of Lichen Planus /Lichen Sclerosis, which was exascerbated by my chemotherapy.  It is felt this autoimmune disease also caused my cancer to develop.

I underwent a sub-total oesophagectomy, with an Ivor Lewis approach, and a two field lymphadenectomy.  As a result my nutritional intake is not fully absorbed, and my food intake is reduced due to capacity.

I accept that this is more than likely how I will be for life now, and am so grateful to be here.  It is eighteen months since my surgery, and I know that I am still recovering, as each month I realise I can eat a more varied diet, or can do things I couldn't due to muscle strength and endurance levels.  I am just interested in your opinion, and if you think I will continue to feel more like my pre-cancer days.

Thank you for your time Chris xxxx

Michael - Macmillan

Here's another question that arrived via email - it's from Gill:


Hi, hope you can answer my question. I had a lumpectomy operation in my right breast in June 2006, it was Grade 3, aggressive under the microscope, 28mm in size and had 11 out of 12 negative Lymph nodes removed. Followed by 4 chemo (should have had 6 but I was so ill I asked to stop. They said it was ok as I had had large doses) and radiotherapy.

I haven't have any further medication. I still get pains in both arm pits and the side of my neck, I'm thinking in the Lymph node area.  I also get stabbing pains in my left breast, I feel for lumps and theres nothing (I discovered my lump back in December 2005 and went to my GP who said it was nothing to worry about). Is this pain normal after all this time?

Many thanks,