Bowel cancer treatment and side effects


Chemo/radiotherapy - how long before you feel better?

Hi, can anyone who’s done the 5 week chemo radiation tell me how long it took them to feel ok again? I know they say up to 2 weeks and I’m only 5 days from finishing radiotherapy (8 days since giving up on the Capecitibine as I couldn’t stand the side effects) but does it really take that long?

I feel better when I wake up but as soon as I try to do anything, I’m wiped out. I try to get out for a walk with the dogs every day but only manage about a mile - most of which is spent wondering how I’ll get back to the car. I’m getting really painful legs from sitting/lying around so much.

Sorry for long post - actually missing going to hospital appointment everyday as no longer see people to talk to and compare experiences!


Hi @Sam61. I had five and a half weeks of radiochemotheraphy which finished in July. Coped well on the whole - tired nauseous and unpredictable Bowel. It wasn’t until I had finished though - probably a couple of weeks after that I felt really good and realised I must have been feeling quite rough on the radiochemo. I am sure you will begin to feel much better soon. Wishing you well. :x:


Thanks @penjay1902 - I struggled throughout to be honest, think I tried to work my way through the whole list of potential side effects! Just really impatient to be able to do ‘normal’ things in the break before surgery. Best wishes to you too.


Like I said @Sam61, after a couple of weeks I felt so well. Had couple of holidays, nights out, life definitely was back to normal. You will be too. :x:


my 5.5 weeks finished about now, seven years ago.
I hardly had any symptoms from my bowel cancer before any treatment and was v lucky to feel fine throughout. I even went into central London by public transport in the cold weather, each week day and by myself.
I think I was fine immediately after, no waiting for 2 weeks which I gather is the norm.
But then again, my tumour barely shrunk from the 5.5 weeks of treatment. Whereas others who had greater side effects had much better results.
As to your question, @Sam61 , I guess it probably depends on how we were before the treatment, which could be the very first part of your treatment program, as it was mine.


Hi @Sam61 I had five and half weeks radiochemo last year, and I was wiped out for weeks, like you I did a little everyday and eventually got back to feeling like my old self, do what you can, your energy levels will return, gentle hugs :x::x:


hi @ Sam61,i had exactly the same treatment,i was very lucky, as apart from very dodgy bowels, i was pretty much ok a little tired in the last week,once treatment was over i would say i was back to feeling good in about three weeks, waiting for scans at end of january, hoping for a miracle, i would love to go on watch and wait, hope you soon get back to normal, hugs john xx.


Hi @Sam61 I had 5 weeks radio chemo and I suffered during the latter weeks of burning etc and unpredictable bowels ! But as they suggested it got a bit worse directly after radio finished for me (burning etc ) but eased off completely within 2 weeks of ending radiochemo so stitch with it ! It will end and you will be back to doing normal things ! Lots of love Annie :x::x::x:


Hey @Sam61, my mum finished her chemoradiotherapy just under two weeks ago. Her side effects seem to be peaking at the moment, she's in a lot of pain during bowel movements, but is hoping it will start to ease - she's now starting to find the area isn't quite so sensitive, peeing doesn't hurt now and she's not quite so tired, but she does need to have a nap from time to time! (and yes, she misses the social side of it!)


Hi @Sam61 I finished 5 weeks of chemoradiotherapy (Capecitabine) on 11th December last. I have had a few side effects that have now eased like itchy, dry hands and feet and tiredness. The worst thing for me was the night sweats and numerous trips to the loo in the night to pee!! These all seem to be getting easier now. I have my scans, MRI and CT, first week of Feb and best case scenario is that I don't need surgery. Fingers crossed the treatment has got the bugger!! Take it easy and best wishes :x:


Thank you everyone for your replies.

So I’m now just over 2 weeks post treatment and generally starting to feel better. Nausea and diarrhoea have gone and have more energy. However I’m still regularly getting tight chest and racing heart rate, and light headed ness. I’ve had a couple of ECGs, blood tests and blood pressure checks which are all fine. GP says tightness is due to inflammation/infection in chest wall muscle and heart rate is due to anxiety about it and is ‘in my power to stop’. So it’s painkillers and relaxation.

Has anyone else had the chest muscle problem? How long does it take to get better? It’s difficult to stop worrying about it and whether there is really something more sinister going on, despite the reassurances.