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

KarenS-Macmillan
Posted by

janethk

 I had  breast cancer last year and due to radio therapy treatment  I have slight lymphodema and breast oedema  will the lumpy ness  in my breast improve over time ?  wearing a bra becomes uncomfortable as the day progresses

Hi janethk,

For most people this is something that can improve over time.  If you are worried, it might be worth asking either your breast clinic or GP to refer you to a lymphoedema specialist clinic for further advice/assessment.

Karen

KarenS-Macmillan
Posted by

KathMag

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 

Hi KathMag,

It’s not that uncommon to experience these symptoms after pelvic radiotherapy. It may be worth considering having your urine tested to rule out a urine infection.

Karen

KarenS-Macmillan
Posted by

mick the wolf

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.

Hi Mike the Wolf,

Peripheral Neuropathy can be a common side effect that continues long after treatment has stopped. This condition can sometimes improve over time. It can be managed in a variety of ways. You may need to ask your GP for a specialist referral .

Karen

KateG - Macmillan
Posted by

Michael admin

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
Christine 

Hi Christine

Follow up after treatment can change when there is no recurrence or worrying symptoms. Your specialist may send you for further scans/tests if you present with any new symptoms or pain. The incontinence maybe due to your radiotherapy. You should ask your GP/specialist to refer you to an incontinence specialist as there are often exercises or medication that can help.You might find it helpful to look at possible late side effects of radiotherapy. I hope this is helpful.

Mitchlp
Posted by

Hi my name is Lee and I'm 43, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer 9weeks ago and I'm undergoing 8 cycles of Chemo which I completed my 3rd on Monday. I'm struggling with the unknown of how long I have to live and trying so hard to keep Strong for my family and friends but behind it all I'm a mess. I struggle to open up with this battle which is unlike me so my question is, how do get help? Lee

Eileen - Macmillan
Posted by

ChrissieC

Hi,

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January and had a left mastectomy and full axillary node clearance in March. I am currently having chemo and will then move on to 15 rads plus tamoxifen. What worries me is the after affects of both treatments and the risk of lymphodoema in my left arm. Also the rads will be on my left side so worry about my heart too!  What do they do to protect the heart? Thank you.

Hi ChrissieC, it is common to worry about the after effects of treatment. However, there is no way of knowing how you will be affected. Taking care of your arm and following the advice from your consultant is important when trying to prevent Lymphoedema. It is understandable that you are worried about your heart. Your team will put a lot of care in to planning your treatment. The planning takes so long as the team are making sure as little surrounding tissue as possible is affected by the radiotherapy. They may also ask you to take deep breaths or lay you in a certain position to help avoid your heart.

Eileen, Macmillan Information Nurse

KarenS-Macmillan
Posted by

Ledaka

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

Hi Susie. The problems you are experiencing are not that uncommon following pelvic radiotherapy. For most people these symptoms get better over time, but for some people late effects from this kind of treatment can be ongoing. You might find having a toilet card useful for when you go out and about. It might also be worth asking your GP for a dietician referral for further assessment.

Karen

KateG - Macmillan
Posted by

Michael admin

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,
Gill 

Hi Gill

Many people experience symptoms after their treatment and they can be caused by damage to muscle and nerves during the treatment. For some people they lessen over time but some people are left with symptoms. Have a look at our booklet on life after cancer treatment.

Some people find complementary therapies can help with some of their symptoms and to help you cope after treatment. It is important to let your doctor know if you experience any new systems.I hope you find this helpful.

Josie - Macmillan
Posted by

rduu

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?

Hi Rduu, Thank you for getting in touch. Unfortunately sometimes if the side effects of chemo are still troublesome 3 years later it may be as your oncologist has said that this won’t improve and you may find ways to adjust to this. Exercise is one of the things they say to do, just something like going out for a walk can help. We also have some information on fatigue, you might find useful. I will put the link here. I hope this is helpful.

mishca
Posted by

I have been in remission for ten years but suffer from chronic pain and fatigue among other serious symptoms.  My oncologist has dismissed it as 'what happens after such brutal treatment' after chemo and radio.  But I have been left virtually housebound, unable to walk, have lost my job and have had to radically alter the way I live my life.  I have fought very hard for any support from doctors but there doesn't seem enough understanding of people like me.  Where do I go next. .why are there no local support groups. .who's there to help? 


Sorry for the moa

Mishca

Jess E - Macmillan
Posted by

All of the questions have been answered, so that brings us to the end of today's Ask the Expert!

Thanks to everyone who posted a question - I hope it's been helpful and you have some answers to your questions. Many thanks to all of our nurses who answered questions today- , ,  and

Our nurses now have to go back to their work on the Macmillan Support Line, so we won't be able to take any more questions here today.

I'll lock this discussion, which means that you won't be able to post any new replies after this. 

However, if you still have questions, you can still talk to someone about late effects by giving us a call on the Macmillan Support Line (0808 808 0000, Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm, free from landlines and most mobile networks) or by sending them an email.

If you have any feedback about today's session, we'd love to hear it so please get in touch with us via on community@macmillan.org.uk.

KateG - Macmillan
Posted by

Mitchlp

Hi my name is Lee and I'm 43, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer 9weeks ago and I'm undergoing 8 cycles of Chemo which I completed my 3rd on Monday. I'm struggling with the unknown of how long I have to live and trying so hard to keep Strong for my family and friends but behind it all I'm a mess. I struggle to open up with this battle which is unlike me so my question is, how do get help? Lee

Hi Lee

I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. It is not unusual to struggle with the emotional effects of cancer. It can be difficult, even for the most experienced cancer specialist, to predict how long a person is likely to live for (prognosis). The reason for this is that each person will be affected differently by their illness. Factors such as how a person responds to treatment, their age, and general health can all influence how long a person may live for. Even two people, with the same type and stage of cancer, can have a different prognosis. It might help to discuss this further with your specialist .There are different types of support available for you and your family that may help. Or you may find it helpful to talk to one of the nurses on the helpline. Our helpline and speak to one of the nurses it is open 9am-8pm mon-Friday

KateG - Macmillan
Posted by

mishca

I have been in remission for ten years but suffer from chronic pain and fatigue among other serious symptoms.  My oncologist has dismissed it as 'what happens after such brutal treatment' after chemo and radio.  But I have been left virtually housebound, unable to walk, have lost my job and have had to radically alter the way I live my life.  I have fought very hard for any support from doctors but there doesn't seem enough understanding of people like me.  Where do I go next. .why are there no local support groups. .who's there to help? 

Sorry for the moa

Hi mischa

 

I am sorry to hear that your treatment has had such an impact on your quality of life. For some people the long term side effects can be difficult to cope with. There are other health professionals who may be able to help you manage your symptoms .If you have not seen a pain specialist you could ask your GP to refer you. Complimentary therapies may help improve your quality of life.

Your profile says you had lymphoma, have you been in contact with the Lymphoma association? They have support groups throughout the country and have a buddy system .They can arrange for you to speak to someone who has been through a similar experience to you.

There is information on coping with cancer on our website and in our booklet life after cancer treatment.

There are different types of support available that may be of help to you. Alternatively, you may find it helpful to talk to one of the nurses on the helpline. Our helpline is open 9am-8pm 0808 808 0000. Mon-Friday. take care Kate