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i have just recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer, they have not given me a stage but I’ve had the PET scan and have been told it’s chemo radiation treatment that I will be getting 

I am waiting on the “mapping” scan appointment.  My emotions are up and down.  I have been experiencing really bad lower back pain recently and this is making me feel yuck.  Is this normal? 

  • Hi  and welcome to our group.

    I’m sorry to read you’ve had a cancer diagnosis, but hope you’ll find it helpful to be part of our group where we understand how it feels. 

    We all probably had different symptoms leading to our diagnosis, but lower back pain would definitely be a typical symptom. And it’s very usual to be very up and down emotionally when you’re first coming to terms with everything. Did you have any other scan apart from the petscan? Most of us have a mix of different types of scans like Ct, pet and mri scan which give different pieces of information on the size, location of the tumour and to identify if there is any spread away from the cervix. 

    From the results, the staging can be established, but if you are going straight to chemoradiation without surgery, that would suggest the cancer is not stage 1 where a radical hysterectomy would normally be the first treatment.

    The mapping scan you refer to sounds like the radiotherapy planning scan, where you will be marked with tiny tattoos ready for radiotherapy, so that the machine can line up exactly to deliver the treatment. I had an issue with this when I went as my bowel was not empty so I had to go away and come back next day and try again after using suppositories, so just a heads up for you on that point! 

    The usual chemo used is Cisplatin, which does not make you lose your hair, and the whole treatment is intense over a short period of time, but perfectly manageable. Typically it’s around 5 weekly sessions of chemo and around 25 week day sessions of radiation, followed by one/some sessions of brachytherapy which is internal radiotherapy but not everyone’s plans are identical. This just gives you an idea of what is typical.

    Have you got some good family and friend support around? Help with lifts to treatments and appointments can be really useful. Have you got anything prescribed for your back pain? If not, you can ask for painkillers to help you while you’re waiting for treatment to start-don’t suffer in silence!

    if there are any questions you’d like to ask, please feel free to ask away. Many of us in the group, including myself, have been through chemoradiation so will be able to help share our experiences of that. I don’t want to bombard you with too much information straight away, but we will be happy to help answer any questions if we can. 

    I hope you’ll keep posting to let us know how things are going. We have some new ladies in the group who are about to start treatment, so there will others going through it at the same time as you, and I hope you’ll find it good to connect with them. 

    Sarah xx

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