My name is Claire Taylor, I’m a Macmillan nurse consultant in colorectal cancer at London North West Hospital NHS Trust. People who have pelvic radiotherapy have some acute symptoms which settle. The most common effects that we know about are changes in bowel function, urinary function and sexual function. Only a significant minority of patients will go on to have these late effects, which may appear months or years later. Jean I was diagnosed seven years ago with anal cancer. I had symptoms of diarrhoea. The symptoms didn’t start immediately I would say probably three years afterwards.
And I was afraid to go very far away from my home in case of these accidents happening. Roy I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 and I was totally shocked when I found out. It probably wasn’t noticeable for a month or two and then it gradually dawned on me that the general stomach area was playing up. The symptoms I had were diarrhoea, incontinence and an increasing amount of pain in the pelvic area. Ann I was diagnosed about eight years ago with cervical cancer and as soon as the treatment finished.
I was suffering with abdominal cramps and I had something called bile malabsorption. The doctors found a tablet called colesevelam, which stops the bile acid going straight through your system and making you incontinent. Without the doctor’s help and sympathy I wouldn’t be here today, able to do this without running to the toilet constantly. Claire Taylor It’s really important that you let us know about the symptoms you’re experiencing. We want to hear how they’re impacting on your life and we will have some ideas of how we can help you. There is information available and there are some basic suggestions.
Late effects of pelvic radiotherapy Macmillan Cancer Support
I’m sure your GP or nurse specialist will be able to offer you. If the symptoms don’t settle down then you could ask for a referral to a specialist. There are many specialist centres now in the UK and they can offer further treatments. Roy I wouldn’t want anyone to think that they have got to be on their own and not talk about it. There are organisations out there that are trained to help, that will help and can help. To sit there on your own is a pointless exercise.