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long Term Effects of pelvic radiation????

For the past several months I have been experiencing pain in my back and pelvic area.  It feels like a throbbing kind of pain and it quickly goes away with a motrin.  However, it returns next day.  So far, I have had a pelvic/abdominal CT scan, a MRI of the Lumbar spine, a pelvic/abdominal ultrasound and everything is ok.  I am wondering is this could be a long term effect from the pelvic radiation from treatment.  Has anyone else experienced anything similar to this?  Any treatment recommendations.  My doctors can't figure out where the pain is coming from.  

 

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I was treated for anal cancer in 2008 and received 30 pelvic radiation treatments over the course of 6 weeks. I don't remember how far out from treatment I was, but I began having pain in my pelvic area that was similar to menstrual cramps. Since I stopped having periods once I began treatment, I knew it could not be those. I called my radiation oncologist and he felt from my description that it was most likely caused by adhesions forming in my intestines. It is basically scar tissue. It can grow inside and on the outside of the intestines and happens because radiation burns, thus causing the formation of scar tissue. Some people never have any issues with this, but others, like myself, do. I was hospitalized in 2013 for an intestinal blockage and truly believe that this was as the result of adhesions. Unfortunately, mine have never been seen on any kind of imaging, which, if this is what is causing your pain, may be why nothing has shown up on any of your testing. After my hospitalization, I was referred to a surgeon so that I would have someone waiting in the wings in the event I eventually needed surgery, due to the potential for further blockages, which is a very serious situation. The problem with surgery is that it would most likely result in more scar tissue at the surgical site and in the intestines where the problematic section is removed and the ends are attached.

At least you have no evidence of recurrence or metastases, as per your test results, so I hope that gives you some peace of mind. I would ask your doctors about the possibility of adhesions. I wish you all the best as you try to figure out the source of your pain.
Wow that is exactly how I described the pain, i.e. like menstrual cramps. Today I received my MRI results and it said that I had pelvic varicose veins, worse on left side and "the anorectic is partially collapsed and there is a slight irregular asymmetrical thickening appearance of the inner anal wall. This last part was scary. I am hopeful that this is due to my radiation treatment 4 years ago. This is the first pelvic MRI I have had since my treatment. But, I called my Colon Surgeon today and I am going to see her next Tuesday. Four years out, I thought I was done with this whole cancer thing. Thanks for sharing. I will let you know what happens.
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I'm glad you are going to be seeing your CR surgeon in the next week to get clarification on your scan results. The "thickening of the inner anal wall" that was mentioned sounds scary, but I know other anal cancer survivors have had the same mentioned on scan results, which has turned out to be scar tissue as a results of the radiation. It could very well be due to scar tissue and be totally benign in your case as well.

That is very interesting about the veins in your pelvic area. I've never heard of such a thing. I will be interested in knowing if your CR doctor believes that this is the cause of your pain and what kind of treatment might be available. From your description of the pain, it does not sound like what I experienced when I have had the intestinal blockages. However, it does sound the same as I had when my rad onc told me it was most likely scar tissue forming. I have come to the conclusion that some people scar more easily than others--on the outside and the inside. I am one of those unlucky ones and perhaps you are as well. If so, this could explain your scan results, including the "thickening" of the anal wall. Please let me know what you find out from your doctor. I wish you all the very best.
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April 14, 2015

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