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Lower abdomen pain- any advice?

Posted 07 Oct 2014 at 11:10

I haven't posted here in such a long time. Merrily getting on with life following hubby's surgery and salvage radiotherapy in 2011.

His last 3 PSA scores have gone up. A miniscule amount each time, but gone up all the same. Discussion's with cancer nurse suggested Hormone therapy will be something to consider, but not for many years. We've gone back to 3 monthly PSA tests just to make sure their isn't a sudden surge in activity.

HOWEVER, my OH has been experiencing a lot of discomfort and pain in his lower abdomen. Sometimes it is severe, others just a constantly nagging pain. He has no continence issues , but needs to go up to 10 times a day which is unsual for him. He often feels the need to empty his bowel but then finds he can't. He mentioned  allthis to the nurse 2 weeks ago and she did a DRE 'just to be sure' there was no sign of growth etc. Sheattributed the pain and bowel issues to late onset effects of radiotherapy. We left the office with her saying everything felt normal and that she didn't need to see him for 6 months.

5 days later he received  a letter saying he had an MRI scheduled for today and an appointment with oncologist in 6 weeks time ( not 6 months). This was a surprise as it hadn't been mentioned  and sent him into panic mode as he knows from previous experience there is usually a significant wait for an MRI at our hospital. Not knowing who had requested the scan he rang his GP who said  that the report from his latest consultant's appointment stated there had been a 'thickening' detected on the prostate bed and an MRI recommended. Why didn't she say that to us at the time?!


My questions are 1) Couldn't the 'thickening' on the prostate bed just be scar tissue?

2) Does anyone else have issues following radiotherapy some years afterwards and if so is there anything that can help alleviate the pain? We have been given no advice at all. The nurse seemed quite blase , but he is really suffering.


Thanks in advance 





Posted 07 Oct 2014 at 18:46

Hi xerox,
side effects of RT can take years to show themselves and certainly, frequent urination and bowel problems would be up there. Assuming the scan comes back as normal, they may diagnose proctitis in which case there are treatments which can help, including a foam.

It would be helpful to know what these tiny PSA rises are? How tiny are you talking? There is the possibility that a small cluster of cells remained and are making themselves busy in which case I would want to talk at the onco appointment about likely thresholds for starting HT. My dad has had recent rises from <0.1 to 0.15 to 0.2 so we know that the cancer has come back but for the time being both dad and the specialist are happy to just keep an eye on it and avoid hormones for as long as possible. Dad is in his 70s though which makes that decision rather easier than for a young man.

If all else seems okay, I think I would also want the hospital to check for bowel cancer just in case .... there is a minutely increased risk of colon cancer post-RT and it is such an easy test to do - good for your peace of mind!

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

Posted 07 Oct 2014 at 20:12

I can't really comment on the abdominal pain. But it does sound as if monitoring the slow increase in PSA is the right thing.
The oncologist who did a Q&A session at Leicester discussed that it's not the level the PSA reaches but the velocity it is rising at


Posted 08 Oct 2014 at 09:51

Hi zerox

Bladder frequency after RT is not uncommon – 10 years on and I’m still on meds for it. As regards bowels it can be difficult knowing when you really want to go. I’ve learned on that score to forget this I always go at x time of day. Just go when you feel the need but don’t, I repeat don’t, strain – if it doesn’t’ happen it doesn’t

However after saying that I don’t have any pain..

Good luck with the tests.


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