Late effects of Radiotherapy from 10 years ago - now my right hand is useless

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I’m interested to find out if there are any other people who had Radiotherapy many years ago for primary breast cancer and who now have late effects emerging. I had Radiotherapy 10 years ago in 2014 but in 2022, I noticed that my right hand was getting weak and gradually got very numb and finally became completely useless. I finally found out after having nerve conduction tests that it was the radiotherapy that had damaged the brachial plexus nerves in my right shoulder area and it is these nerves that control movement of the fingers and thumb. It has got progressively worse and there is nothing they can do for me. So I have got adverse effects of cancer treatment from 10 years ago, and had recently been told that I had cancer returned as secondary breast cancer at about the same time - a double whammy if ever there was one! I can no longer write, play the piano, open packets, wash up pots properly - it has made me very disabled and was quite a shock when it started happening. I would never have had the radiotherapy if I had known this was going to happen to me! Is there anyone on here with anything similar from having radiotherapy? Many thanks 

  • Hi   I am so sorry you are experiencing this. I too have late on set of radiotherapy side effects. My radiotherapy was for a sarcoma tumour in my bronchial airway, like yourself, mine was 10 years ago this year. I started having pins and needles in my upper back before Christmas. This has got worse as time has gone on, like intense pins and needles and little electric shocks going to my shoulder. The only relief from this is for someone to rub my back, unfortunately it is not in an area I can reach myself, and it drives me mad! I have had a chest X-ray and a ct scan, and all they can say it is nerve damage from the radiotherapy, which will probably get worse. I know though, that if I hadn’t of had the treatment, I wouldn’t now be here. 

    I cannot imagine how you must be feeling to now be unable to do the things that you did before. Have you been in touch with an occupational therapist that may be able to help you with some of these things. Speak to your GP about this if you haven’t already.

    I am so sorry to hear that they have found a secondary breast cancer. This must of been a terrible shock for you. Have you got a treatment plan yet for that? 


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  •     I felt I should reach out because post a bilateral mastectomy (breast cancer in my right breast and secondary cancer under my right armpit in the axillary lymph nodes, elected left breast mestectomy) with reconstruction (FLAPS, DIEPS & TAD) I now have the continuous pins n needles so bad and as you describe mostly in my right hand too. I’m soon to have radiotherapy and now very concerned as I am currently on long term sick leave, also really struggling with reduced pay and the family wanting/ willing on my recovery which is hard because I am genuinely still feel and struggle with the post symptoms of cancer fatigue and aching joints.