How to cope with side effects from pelvic radiotherapy

Cancer Research UK

Cancer patients about to undergo pelvic radiotherapy or who have had the treatment and are experiencing some of the potentially worrying and embarrassing side effects, now have a new free resource to turn to thanks to Cancerbackup and Cancer Research UK.

The leading cancer charities have produced the two booklets, one for men and one for women, which could help the 12,000 patients in the UK who have pelvic radiotherapy each year.

The booklets are comprehensive in their coverage and include the possible effects on sexuality and fertility, bowel and bladder problems, pelvic pain, bone problems and lymphoma. There is also information about the emotional and psychological issues that can arise from the fear of cancer coming back.

Included inside is a symptom diary to help patients keep track of what they experience on a daily basis. And there is information on how patients can find help to cope with a wide range of problems.

One useful example is how to apply for a special access card and key to allow patients to use toilet facilities in shops and pubs, whether or not they are customers.

There is also guidance on how to deal with both mild and serious bladder and bowel difficulties and useful associations and addresses listed at the back.

The booklets are supported by information for health professionals, and are available online at www.cancerbackup.org.uk/healthprofessionals/pelvicradiotherapy and www.cancerbackup.org.uk in the section on cancer treatments; radiotherapy; abdominal and pelvic radiotherapy side effects.

Produced in conjunction with the Pelvic Radiotherapy Information Steering Group consisting of a number of experts in this field of treatment, the distribution of these booklets has been made possible by a partnership between Cancer Research UK and Cancerbackup. The charities are planning to work together on a number of joint projects and to develop new ways to give people the information they need.

To order free copies of the booklets: Pelvic radiotherapy in women: possible late effects and Pelvic radiotherapy in men: possible late effects - please visit: www.cancerbackup.org.uk/orders or email: orders@cancerbackup.org.

For media enquires please contact Cancerbackup on 020 7920 7218 or 020 7920 7219, or the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300.