Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

You can find lots of useful information about bowel cancer treatment on our website. You can also get information and support from our Ask the nurse service.


Just finished radiotherapy

I have had the 5 day course of high dose radiotherapy for rectal cancer which finished on Monday. So far I haven't really had any side effects from the radiotherapy other than a bit of lower back pain. Now I have to wait 10 weeks or so to see if it has done its magic and shrunk the tumour or better still made it disappear completely.
Are there any signs that it might be working? I have been told that the side effects might get worse and was wondering when this is likely to kick in

Liz Blakelands

@hazysunshine Hi and a warm welcome to the forum but sorry for your diagnosis of rectal cancer. I had rectal cancer 4 years ago but I didn't have radiotherapy, just went straight to surgery, so I can't help with your specific question but I'm sure that someone with experience of radiotherapy will be along soon.

Fingers crossed that it does the magic and no more side effects come on.

All the best


Hi @hazysunshine and welcome! Well done on finishing radiotherapy. If your tumour was nearly obstructing, a way to check that treatment has worked is that you have less difficulties passing stools.
Radiotherapy continues to be effective several weeks after it has finished, therefore shrinking the tumour after you've finished treatment, that's why you have this waiting time. Take care :x::x:


@hazysunshine congratulations finishing RT. I had 5 days this time last year too - and started chemo a fortnight after. So, I had terrible tailbone pain before diagnoses... And I would say that it felt a little worse post RT. I also had a huge blocked bowel which meant that I was pooing, but not emptying there were spasms.
However, after about a week, I started to feel so much better. The tailbone pain slowly got much better, and that's how I knew my treatment was working.
Having had the treatment, thankfully it allowed me to have the tumor removed, which was no more than scar tissue after the treatment obliterated it. All the very best to you in your recovery