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Pain after Radiation for Prostate Cancer

Lucys26
Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2018

Hello Everyone,

I am writing on behalf of my dad who was diagnosed with prostate cancer almost a year ago. To give a little background information he is 73 years old, had a Gleason scale of 8 and has been using a catheter for about 2 years. He recently finished a 2 month radiation treatment and will have to continue having hormone shots for about a year. In the past he has also had a heart attack which was discovered after having a stress test performed. He is currently taking medication for his heart as well.

 

After the radiation treatment he has been experiencing episodes a fatigue, dizziness, and severe pain in his abdomen. It was been almost three weeks since his last treatment however we were wondering if this is normal. He has recently been able to go out and walk around for short amounts of time, but anything more than an hour and he will feel dizzy and weak.  

 

Does anyone have suggestions for ways we can help or diet tips? And is the catheter affecting him? We have been trying electrolyte drinks and a diet filled with fruits and veggies. We also were recommended to start probiotics. 

Thank you.

Clevelandguy
Posts: 462
Joined: Jun 2015

Hi Lucy,

 

Never had radiation but it could be he has a unrinary tract infection due to the catheter.   Did the doctor check for this?  If that's not it he should contact the doctor that did the radiation and see if he can find out why your Dad is in so much pain.  Did the doctor(s) give him any diet to follow to help his gut recover from the radiation? If he has an internal catheter, that's what I had for about 10 days, hated every minute of it.  No real pain just a lot of burning and discomfort.   Just my thoughts, hope it helps..................

Dave 3+4

Lucys26
Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2018

Hi Dave, thank you for responding. He has had quite a few UTIs in the past and has been on antibiotics. He would like to finally remove the catheter and clean out his prostate (which was suppose to have been done before radiation) but because of his heart, they refused to put him under anesthesia. We are suppose to revisit the topic again in a few months. And they did not really give us too many suggestions for diet except that he should eat a lot of protein to help his tissue repair.

Clevelandguy
Posts: 462
Joined: Jun 2015

Yeah I know my wife has had a few UTI's and they are very painfull and make you miserable.

Dave 3+4

Old Salt
Posts: 720
Joined: Aug 2014

The fatigue may be due to the hormone therapy and perhaps also the dizziness. But your Dad's medical status is complex and I would recommend that he undergoes a complete physical to identify the source of his abdominal pain(s). In the meantime, let's hope that he continues to improve. In that context, walking is great for several reasons.

Lucys26
Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2018

I agree with the walking. He is now able to go out, but no more than an hour at a time. I am sure it will get better as the weather starts improving too.

 

 

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3313
Joined: May 2012

Lucy,

Radiation can have a wide range of side-effects.  I had a colonoscopy this week and my general surgeon does a lot of cancer surgery. I asked him about a friend who had received radiation years ago and later had to periodically have his colon cauterized to stop bleeding.  The surgeon told me that this was extremely common, he had done many such cauterizations on men who had received PCa radiation over the years.  A first sign of rectal blood loss is anemia, which can cause the dizziness and loss of balance.  But this would show up on all of his blood panels -- low RBC counts.

Follow his CBC results closely and pester the docs until you get answers.  He has numerous "comorbities" -- other health issues that will probably make determining his problems difficult and not clear-cut.

max

Lucys26
Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2018

We were thinking Anemia could be a factor as well. We have been monitoring his diet and he is going to get blood work soon. 

RobLee's picture
RobLee
Posts: 259
Joined: Feb 2017

I completed eight weeks of radiation last October and the side effects are just now finally wearing off, specifically the proctitis that happens with some men. Diarrhea started my second week and by the end of Tx I was bleeding rectally. I don't know exactly what you mean by abdominal pain, but for many weeks I would go all day feeling like I had to defecate, and often would several times a day. Often there was a lot of gas too.

My radiation oncologist severaly restricted my diet both during and after treatment to avoid both fresh and cooked vegetables, especially onions, cucumbers and the like. I found that I also had to avoid large servings of fruit.  I'm not sure what you are hoping to accomplish with "a diet filled with fruits and veggies" but you might consider the possibility that it could actually be the cause of his problems.

Lucys26
Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2018

I understand what you are saying. We were encouraging him to eat better, hence having a diet that includes less processed food and more things like fruits and vegetables. His diet wasn't always the greatest when he was younger, but he has gotten much better at making healthier selections. In the beginning he also had the bloating and gas pain, but not as much anymore. And by abdominal pain, I am referring to the area where he received his radiation and has his catheter. We are going to meet with a nutritionist next week.

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3313
Joined: May 2012

The notion of "eating well to health" is common among cancer patients and their supporters.  Usually it is a waste of time and frequently even counterproductive.  When I was dying from Lymphoma I stopped eating anything (chemo-induced anorexia, which is fairly common).   My wife asked my medical oncologist, "What should I offer him to eat ?"  He replied, "Any damn thing he will put in his mouth."  Be aware: my oncologist has five Board Certifications, including medical oncology, internal medicine, Hematology, and two others. So he knows of what he speaks.    Antioxidants and green teas are prohibited while on most chemo drugs, since studies suggest that they help the cancer cells survive treatments more than they assist the patient overall.  This is despite the popular notin that "green teas prevent or suppress cancer."  It is simply not the case.

I know you propose his diet to end gastric problems, not to cure PCa.  But the line of reasoning remains applicable.

Healthy foods support normal cells. Problem is, cancer cells are not normal. They are wildly abnormal, sick.  They have little or no response to efforts to groom them back to normality.

What a good diet will do is what it will do for anyone: improve heart health, stamina, weight control.  But it won't cure or beat back PCa.  The same is likely true of radiation-induced bloating, etc that he is experencing.

As Rob mentioned, ask the radiation oncologist about specific diet choices.  A R.D. might be fine, IF she is trained in the specifics of radiation health and oncology generally. If not, she too might makes things worse, not better. Ask about her radiation health training before utilizing whatever she proposes.

max

Lucys26
Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2018

Hello.

 

To reiterate what I said before, we are not looking for a miraculous diet to cure him of all his conditions. My father's goal in me posting his medical background to this discussion board is to connect with other individuals who may have had a similar case. My father and I have both concluded that there are correlations between his diet and how he feels throughout the day. Unfortunately it isn't enough to “Just eat right” which I fully understand. However there are items that do help. In the beginning what got him through difficult bouts of gas and diarrhea was having prune juice. He also took Gas X on the side, but overall that combination did make a difference. Right now what helps with his stamina is having oatmeal and fruit in the morning and a diet primarily focused on protein. It could be because he is anemic which we are going to address with a blood test. And as for the nutritionist, they work under the urology department in the hospital and are in connection with prostate cancer patients.

 

Thank you for your response. 

RobLee's picture
RobLee
Posts: 259
Joined: Feb 2017

I know that a high fiber diet is touted by many as being the best thing for everyone regardless of circumstances, but it is not necessarily so for pelvic radiation. His RO should have given you a list of dietary restrictions, which generally AVOIDS many "fruits and veggies", even after treatment has ended. You should probably consult his RO about this high fiber diet, not just a nutritionist who is likely not familiar with radiation proctitis.

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 2226
Joined: Apr 2009

roblee is giving good advise; avoid fruits and veggies for the time being. Contact the radiation oncologist to confirm.

JohnsonfromPhilly
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2018

Hey. From the sounds of it, I am thinking that it may be a UTI. I know that any sort of radiation treatment will also cause inflammation. There are a lot of great resources online where you can learn about anti-inflammatory diets. See if that helps.

Aramat
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2018

RobLee is correct. Your RO should be able to refer you to a genitourinary dietician with an RD credential. The prostate diet is very precise and when ready, per your RO and dietician, fruits and veggies will be phased in gradually. This is really critical.

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