Ask The Expert: Cervical Cancer and Survivorship Web Chat - Now Closed

Hi red sox

Lynn Holmes (CNS)
You are not on your own – many women feel like this. You had cancer, you are not a fraud it happened to you so it doesn’t matter what treatments other people had. There is support and help out there. Check if there is a Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust support group near you or attend one of the Lets Meet days. My patients who attend the support group tell me it’s fantastic as the other women there ‘get it’, they don’t need to explain how they feel. There may be a survivorship/living with and after cancer services within your local area that you could access; there are courses on living well after cancer that you can access run by Penny Brohn -
I’m not sure why your armpits and groins ache, you did have a lymph node dissection it could be that you lymphatic system has been compromised maybe this happens when you are rundown?
The wind problem could be due to some adhesions that may have formed during surgery, stress can cause irritable bowel type symptoms such as painful wind, have you changed your diet since your surgery? If it doesn’t settle it’s worth mentioning to your GP or hospital team so they can reassure you.

Hi Everyone

Thank you again so much for your questions. You asked some really great questions, some that are sometimes really difficult to ask so thank you for your bravery. I know that there will be so many other women who will get a lot out of reading them. I really hope that you find the responses from our panel helpful. I know there's a lot to take in and digest as our panel have given some really useful pointers.

I think your questions show just how isolating and difficult some of the issues after treatment can be, particularly around relationships. I wonder whether any of you would like to share your thoughts on the suggestions given by our panel or anything you've tried surrounding late effects (bowel, bladder, bones, sex, lymphodoema etc) that you've found helpful? 

I look forward to chatting to you this evening

Best wishes


Thank you both for your advise. It has given me new hope that with time I can return to a fulfilling sex life. I'll have chat with my gp, talk to her about HRT and finding another counsellor. I think the journey after dealing with cancer can be such a roller coaster that your so busy dealing with the big stuff that when the dust settles you get on with life accepting where you are but hoping something will change. It's that extra push I need to make to find a way through. 

I hope this will help other people who have experienced similar circumstances.


I thought it might be helpful if I gave you a quick rundown of the resources that the panel have signposted to;


Both Lynn and Susan told us about The College of Sexual Relationships and Therapists . If you click on the link you'll see that they offer tips for sexual wellbeing, common sexual concerns and what to expect from therapy. It will help you find a therapist. You can also speak to your GP or cancer specialist about getting a referal. One of the key aspects I feel to come out of both Lynn and Susan's replies is how important it is to seek help. Many women find their sex lives are altered after treatment but there is help out there. Plus there's no harm in asking, you can always find out more about it and then decide whether it's for you.

Another resource that Lynn mentions is Menopause Matters It's a site that a lot of nurses swear by. It's full of tips and information. Early menopause caused by treatment can feel really overwhelming so I hope that this site gives you some good info and options.

Penny Brohn Cancer Care run some brilliant courses and services that just help you get back on your feet. And don't be afraid to contact them if you're further on from treatment - you still worth it, aren't you?!

We're big fans of the Pelvic Radiation Disease Association . They focus on informing and supporting people affected by side effects from pelvic radiotherapy so please do give them a look as it may really help you to understand more about your late effects after treatment.

And last but by no means least, Macmillan provide some absolutely excellent support and Lynn mentions their publication Managing Late Effects of Pelvic Radiotherapy in Women which is well worth a read.

And please remember that all of our services are also there to help you. You might like to attend our up coming Let's Meet annual information event on Saturday 20 September. It's a good way to meet other women (and the team!) in a friendly environment and we'll be running workshops centred around survivorship and issues after treatment. It's a really great day and you're welcome to bring a partner or a friend.

Best wishes
Rebecca Smile

Thank you so much for your response, I shall take a look.  Yes you are correct I think I have tried to remain strong throughout this 'hiccup' in my life and have not let it get to me, which has resulted in surpressing my other emotions.

Keep up the good work and thank you once again.


Hi Callyswican

I'm really pleased that you've found their comments helpful. I think you're right - it's easy and understandable to be so focusing on getting through a cancer diagnosis and treatment that when life begins to move forward again, it can become really difficult to reach out for that help, especially if you're first experience of going for help is not a positive one. Also, it can feel like you're trying to address lots of issues at the same time - menopause, relationship issues, pain. It may help to make a plan of action and your GP can definitely help.

Thanks so much for chatting. I'm sure that others can really appreciate what you're going through. 

Best wishes

Hi gcwestie

I hope that you find the sites and information useful. I think a lot of women, like you, feel that they have to keep everything wrapped up tight (often for the benefit of others!!) and this can result in a lot of overwhelming feelings including anger, especially if your experience with previous counsellors has let you down. Sometimes it's worth just finding out a little bit about a counsellor's experience and background. There are some great therapists out there who are genuinely engaged, interested and passionate about helping women regain confidence and enjoyment in intimacy with their partner. I do hope that you find the help you are looking for - as Susan said, it's never too late to get help with this.

Thanks for chatting
Best wishes

Thank you for your advice.

Thanks a lot for your help


Hi Rebecca. I just wanted to say how helpful I found reading the above posts. I'm going to follow up on some of the suggestions that are lee levant to me.



Thanks Karen

I'm so pleased that you found the web chat helpful! I hope you find the suggestions helpful. 

Best wishes