Bones that ache months after radiation

Does anyone else who went through pelvic radiation have hips or bones that ache months after treatment?

I had 25 rounds of pelvic radiation for cervical cancer just under two years ago. The first few months after treatment were fine. But for the past year and a half, I have pain/aches in my hips and femurs. Mostly when I sleep. The aching wakes me up if I've been in one sleep position for too long. Then I have to rotate or lay flat...whatever feels better. I've also had this same painful feeling if I have walked for too long. I like to hike and walk the dog, but I start to feel it after about a half mile of walking.

This weekend I went on a solo road trip. The trip was 2.5 hours. But after 1 hour, my hips were killing me. I ended up getting out at 1.5 hours to walk and stretch and just stand up. So if I'm in any position for too long, the hips hurt. It sucks. I told my doctor about it this month and I get the same excuse, I mean reason, that I get every time. "Radiation caused that. It will go away with time." I have heard this line A LOT in the last year and a half. RADIATION SUCKS!!!

Does anyone else have bone pain caused by radiation? Did you get any good advice or find any tips or something to try to help with the pain? I'm just tired of being cancer-free but still dealing with long term side effects and sometimes feeling worse than I ever felt before cancer.


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  • I wish I had an answer for you but at least I can commiserate on how much it sucks to have chronic pain... I have pain in my back and lungs all the time courtesy of cancer. I have to sleep in a recliner so I can breathe and on my stomach so I avoid putting pressure on a particular spot on my back - kind of ridiculous! I wake up in the middle of the night to take more painkillers because I'm allergic to longer acting prescription painkillers. My doctors looked at several different scans but because the particular spot causing pain in my back doesn't show clearly in any of the scans (you can literally SEE and FEEL a lump) so they can't do anything. I already had radiation to get rid of the worst spot in my lungs which did help. It's frustrating though to have a problem that doctors can't fix. I just do my best to respect my body's limits and use a reusable flax seed hot cold pack to help when my back is really bothering me. I play video games or do things to distract myself and of course take my painkillers so I can function semi normal. In the end I don't feel too badly on the average day, so life is still good :) Hope things get better for you soon!
  • Thanks Mishanne. At least I know I'm not alone! Just hearing about someone else's similar pain is somehow supportive and comforting.

    I also love how even though we're all dealing with some load of crap thanks to cancer, we've all figured out how to put a positive spin on it, someway somehow.

  • I finished chemo/radiation in January for cervical cancer. I do have pain in my bones/joints but I also have Lymes so I am not sure which is causing it. I am just glad to be finished with treatment (hated every min of it!). I am happy that you are cancer free!! I go for my first scan post surgery/treatment at the end of May and I hope to also hear that there is no evidence of any cancer.
  • Lyme disease? I had that in 2006! Second worst health experience in my life. I used to think that was the worst pain I've ever had to deal with. Until cancer.

    It sounds like our diagnoses and treatments were very similar. So comforting to find a soul who is in my shoes. You get it!!!!! I will pray for your post-treatment scan in May. I know the anxiety it can't wait to go, but you fear it also. I truly wish you all the best in your post-cancer journey.

  • mzunrsmzunrs Community Member
    Preciousmae: THANK YOU! I'm in tears just knowing that I'm not alone (there's days that I feel like a freak, because my family just doesn't get it!) I also suffer from the debilitating hip and general pain. I had 1b1 cervical wth 6 rounds of cisplatin, 20 rounds of external, and 5 internal. My last treatment was 10 months ago. Before everything I worked full time as a Registered Nurse. I could work 12+ hours 5 days/week without a blink. Now? I'm only able to be a simple secretary three days/week, and those have to be every other. I hate this feeling. Physically I hurt, financially I'm not able to work, mentally m a basket case.
  • Bonnie09Bonnie09 Community Member
    Wow! Preciousmae and mzunrs I'm so glad I found your posts, it reads as if you are talking about me I'm so glad I'm not alone ,I to had 6 rounds of cisplatin,along with 25 rounds of external & 4 internal radiation treatments I had my last treatment 2015 and for the most part been really well ,but have noticed in the last couple of months my hips especially the left one gets really sore ,also the bones in both legs and ankles , I to can't put in the same hours at work that I had been doing pre cancer ,apart from the pain I get tired really easily and yes it's hard to explain it to others ,and it's not that they are uncaring I think they have a hard time understanding that it's been two years post treatment ,and here I am still feeling the effects of treatment .I had all sorts of thoughts running through my mind ,Like is this a side effect or is it something more sinister I tend to go into panic mode at every little twinge my mind starts racing full of what ifs .
    But after reading your posts I feel so much better just knowing I'm not alone .
  • mzunrsmzunrs Community Member
    Thank YOU! I did learn the I have a fair amount of arthritis in my lower back. Last week was one year from my last treatment. Hard to think of the positives before all the negatives flood my mind. I now understand how others feel when they had their "identity" taken away. The grief can easily overwhelm me. I am blessed to be working weekly with a counselor. Still, it's minute by minute. Also is SUCKS not having a local specific support group.
  • Glad I am not alone. I am sitting at my Radiation Oncologist for my check up right now. Last treatment was Sept 29. I am in so much pain in my lower back and right hip joint. They did a CT and I have L4&5 hearniated. I had 2 months of chemo and daily pelvic radiation.
  • Hello everyone. In all my research I have never found symptoms so close to mine until this post. Dec of 2015 I had an abnormal pap. June 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 2b2 cervical cancer. Unable to get a RH. Did get 27 external radiation, 2 chemo treatments, and 4 internal radiation. Last external was done Dec 2016. Sometime in early 2017 I started with pain in my lower back and hips. Then it moved to my femur bones in both legs. CT shows 3 different types of arthritis in my lower back. I have been taking 2 percocet (10-325) 3x a day since about Feb 2017. Then had to add morphine 60mg 2x a day in June/July 2017. Those pills are the only way I can function. But I am worried that I am never going to get my life back. Most days all I want to do is sleep. I can get 8-10 hrs per night and doze off and on all day. I am thinking of applying for SSI.
    Life sure has changed since my cancer.
    Thank you for listening
  • Thank you all for confirming I am not imagining my symptoms. This is the first time I have read anyone describing anything close to what I am experiencing. I was treated in 2015 for Cervical Cancer stage 1b, 5 x Cisplatin, 28 x external radiotherapy, 5 x Brachytherapy. I mentioned it to my consultant & GP and was casually told its radiation side effects. I have pain in my right hip which gets worse if walking a lot, I.e. out with the dogs, shopping trips, on holiday etc, painful and stiffness if I sit too long, and have to turn sides when sleeping due to discomfort. I'm not complaining, I manage without taking painkillers & won't allow it to slow me down, my body has changed, but I'm grateful the cancer has stayed away, now on 12 month check ups.
  • farahjml1farahjml1 Community Member
    Hi all,

    My mother has also went through this painful and long treatment. She was suffering from cervical cancer stage 3b. 28 radiations, 3 chemos and 4 internal radiations were included in her treatment. Her treatment ended on Dec 28 2017 and her post scan was cancer free. But since February 2018, she has been suffering from sever legs pain and lower body pain and dizziness . We all are scared about it.
  • sunflowersunflower Community Member
    Hello everyone. I am a uterine cancer survivor x2 now 7 years. I too have hips, lumbar spine and back, sciatics, groin, pelvic and leg pain. As well as intestinal and abdominal and bladder pain. Oncologists and regular doctors felt it was all in my head and cuz of my weight. But on internet research many in our situation suffer with these symptoms. United Kingdom and Canada recognize this as pelvic radiation diseas/fibrosis. Usa is just starting to acknowledge these symptoms are real but not all doctors have knowledge. A magazine I picked up in my radiology oncology office a few years back had an article on late long term effects of radiation treatment. The magazine is CURE and is free for cancer patients. Another interesting Facebook site is RILP, radiation induced lumboexopathy. I read an article about Helen bonynge who started the page. Finally in 2017 finally a pain management doctor said I had radiation fibrosis which is causing my pain and part of the cause for my lymphedema from legs up to my chest. Much hugs and love sent to all. Hang in there. Just google your symptoms with after pelvic radiation or late effects of abdomen and or pelvic radiotherapy.