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Pain in hands and wrists = rheumatoid arthritis?

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2009

My husband was diagnosed with sinus cancer last fall, and underwent chemo and radiation treatment during the winter months. We are fortunate for the wonderful doctors and care he received. The doctors are very happy that they see no sign of the cancer at this time.
While he is doing well overall, not long after treatment he started having pain in his hands and wrists,and some occasional swelling. On a few occasions the pain would also be in his arms, but not in other parts of his body. Based on a lot of cancer information that I read, we thought the problem was neuropathy. However, after blood tests the doctors said that he has rheumatoid arthritis. He had no signs of it before cancer, and they said it may have been caused by the trauma from the cancer and radiation.
A young (new to the field) rheumatologist prescribed prednisone for a temporary time. My husband felt relief almost immediately. Then the doctor prescribed methotrexate, but my husband was concerned about the listed side effects which included the words "may be fatal" and did not fill the prescription. His oncologist, who we feel very comfortable with, prescribed piroxicam while weaning him off of the prednisone. My husbands pain level is increasing noticably again so that we think the piroxicam is not working for him, and that maybe we should have tried the methotrexate.
Have any of you been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis rather than neuropathy? If so, what treatments have or are working for you? We are appreciative of any helpful information you can share.

bluerose's picture
Posts: 1104
Joined: Jul 2009

I am a 20 year survivor of non hodgkins lymphoma and had a bone marrow transplant, total body radiation and heavy chemo a long time back and no recurrances. However I have had many side effects that keep me down from the treatment. The radiation oncologist who was putting together my treatment had a talk with me before total body radiation and said that I would probably develope early arthritis after the radiation - years later and I did but it is osteoarthritis.

This arthritis I had been feeling for years before the diagnosis and my hands were the first place affected. The palms would get bright red and they would ache badly. Not so much the wrists. Since then I have been told I have arthritis as well in my lower back, knees, ankles and elbows. All they feel from the radiation but I'm sure the chemo didn't help either. The radiologist told me to expect cataracts as well due to the radiation later and that came true but that's easily fixed.

Can't help you with the drugs you are speaking of as I don't have rheumatoid. As far as neuropathy is concerned the rheumatologist is sure I have that all over and I am scheduled for a neuropathy test soon. You can ask for one if you like. Don't really know what they involve but I guess you could google it on the net and see.

All the best, Bluerose

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