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Can radiotherapy stimulate cancers elsewhere?

Posted 25 Mar 2021 at 16:04

Hi all

in May '18 I was diagnosed Gleason 8 and PSA 62. PSA now down to 0.2.

Treatment was HT (ongoing) followed by 37 shots of radiotherapy in October/November '18.

My question is about what happened next.  In the first half of 2019 I began to get an occasionally bloody, but mainly mucus, leakage from my anus, and a painful lump when I wiped; initially I thought it was my piles playing up.  However my oncologist referred me to colorectal and I was diagnosed October '19 with a 4cm lesion growing into my anal wall.  Only answer was surgery, the full Barbie Bum and stoma for life.  Thankfully the surgery seems to have cleared out that particular cancer.

Question is this: has anyone else developed an anal cancer following prostate radiotherapy?  Are they linked?

Posted 25 Mar 2021 at 16:45
Sorry to see this Stew.

Men have a 1 in 8 chance of developing colorectal cancer (previously more commonly referred to as known as bowel cancer) by the time they reach late 60s - the estimate is that radiotherapy to the prostate / pelvic area might increase that risk by about 0.4%. There is very little data to link prostate RT and anal cancer, and the anus wouldn't usually be in the scope of the radiotherapy anyway.

Was it a true anal cancer or was it prostate cancer that had spread?

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

Posted 25 Mar 2021 at 16:57

Here's the information from PCUK about it:


The relevant bits:

"overall comparisons revealed that men who had radiotherapy were 39 per cent more likely to also have bladder cancer, 68 per cent more likely to have colorectal cancer and 62 per cent more likely to have rectal cancer than men who hadn’t had radiotherapy."

"In real terms, there were between 0 and 0.6 more cases of bladder cancer, 0.2 and 1.4 more cases of colorectal cancer, and -0.2 and 1 more cases of rectal cancer per 100 men who’d had radiotherapy compared to men who hadn’t."

They also point out, though, that research such as this by its very nature looks at historic outcomes, and it's likely that modern methods of radiotherapy will have fewer side-effects than older ones.




Edited by member 25 Mar 2021 at 17:01  | Reason: Not specified

Posted 25 Mar 2021 at 17:06

Hi Lyn, thanks for the info.  Yes, mine is/was a true anal cancer, a very little bit of the lesion poking out of the exit point and making sitting down and wiping after motions uncomfortable, and the rest of it parasitically growing into the wall of the anus above it.

The surgery removed all of the cancerous tissue, along with 14 lymph nodes; there was no sign of cancer on the outside of the histology sample.  The prostate cancer is ongoing, but seems to be contained by the Prostap jabs (next one next week), so it was almost certainly not a direct spread from that.

The good news is that (as promised) having it removed has cured my piles!

Posted 25 Mar 2021 at 17:10

Cheers Chris

hmmm.... interesting odds against.  

Maybe I'm just unlucky that it got me there.  

Or maybe I'm lucky that it got me there, and not somewhere else less "easily" treated.

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