What is radiotherapy and chemo really like?


I have just been given my treatment plan yesterday by my oncologist. Daily radiotherapy for 5 1/2 weeks and weekly chemo, after this round of treatment I will then have internal radiotherapy.

What I want to know is what its really like and what I should expect. I have read the leaflets from McMillan and been on the website but would love to hear first hand how some of you have dealt with it, how tired you were, what side effects you had and any pointers for getting through it. The good, the bad and the ugly :slight_smile:

Thanks xxx

Hi - sorry to hear of diagnosi, but a warm welcome to the forum. First things first, use this space as a sounding board- ask plenty of questions here- there's generally always someone around to share experience and knowledge!

regarding treatment my personal experience was not too bad. I was fortunate in that the only downside from the radiotherapy was extreme tiredness- from about week 3. Ensure you rest and listen to your body. Take offers of help if they come along!!! Drink plenty (and then drink some more!). Lather on the aqueous cream to keep skin well hydrated and prevent burns.

chemo left me with terrible bruises as they really struggled to tap into my veins each week. At the end of the 5 weeks they gave me some cream to reduce the bruises. Tip  is to mention any discomfort chances are there's a remedy available!

im sure you'll be fine- but remember where to come if you've anything to ask.


I just started chmeo and radiation 3 weeks in. Chmeo has not been bad no side effects yet. Radiation has gave me the poops :-( but i take meds and i am good to go. But u will be ok. I was scared to start but it gets better when u get started. Like mme said if u have any side effects tell them all the staff is great and will help u. Good luck and take care :-)

Hi. For me it was so much easier than feared. If you click on my name and scroll through my MANY posts, you will find one called finally started treatment. I wrote down everyday what happened and how I felt. I've been told it was useful for others (as well as being great therapy for me).

Don't fear the treatment at all, in a couple of months you'll not remember it! I can't believe I've actual had it and sometimes think I dreamt the whole thing!


I starred chemo and radiotherapy yesterday. Today I had my second radiotherapy. Not had any symptoms yet other than some mild abdo discomfort after the radiotherapy. I'm drinking 2.5L of water and using moisturising cream all over. I will keep you posted as my journey continues 

take care 



I’m sure you will manage just fine. Most ladies on here do so with minimal symptoms.

I too did a diary of my treatment. Feel free to have a look. I coped a lot better than I could have imagined.

Laura x


Thank you so much for your reply and welcome to the forum and for sharing your personal experience.  My diagnosis was very unexpected as my smear was clear only in July 2016 so be be told I have cerviacl cancer and that it is staged 2b was a huge shock.

I am glad to finally have all the tests done and dusted and can now start on tratement.  My oncologist told me that I have gone through the system very quickly and wouldnt have been seen quicker if I was a private patient!!  I cant imagine having to wait for any longer than I already have, its felt like a lifetime.

I am already suffering with tiredness and having to sleep in the afternoon and I also suffer with cramping which I have had since December so I am expecting these to get a little worse, fingers crossed that is all I have to contend with :-)

The aqueous cream should you use that everywhere?  Or just predominantly on the sight of radiotherapy, I am terrible in so much as I dont even use face cream!! :-/

Thank yo so much again for your advice xx 

Hi Mmouse123

Thanks for the reply, its scary isnt it the unknown?  Since I have been diagnosed 5 weeks ago I just wanted to get on with the treatment and now it is actually here it makes it all very real.  I have my planning scan this afternoon and on Friday I have a new patient meeting I assuming to give me a litle tour, watch a video and talk to a nurse.  

My McMillan nurse has been great and re-iterated that if I am in any pain to make sure I tell them as they have medicine for everything :-). Basically dont suffer in silence.  I hate taking medication but I guess I am going to have to get over that pretty quickly? :-) I have had constant cramping since December and for now I just take ibuprofen every 4 hours, think I might have to up it to stronger medicine soon.

I hpe your chemo and radiotherapy continues well, keep me posted with how you are getting on. :-) 

Hi Philleepa,

Thank you so. much for this, I am going to spend my morning having a read through it.  I have also started a diary from the day i was diagnosed at my colposcopy appointment but so far its just for me to remind me of how I felt on certain days etc.

I will try and remember that, its all just time and time passes doesnt it :-) Looking forward to being on the other side :-)

Hi Julie

Many thanks for yor reply and good luck with your treatment :-). Did anyone suggest to you about taking any multi-vitamins or anything before you started treatment?  I am trying to drink plenty of water, have heard that this is good to help flush out the kidneys anyway especially with all the chemicals being pumped in.  I already have constat cramping and have had it since December so I am hoping that it doesnt get any worse.

Please keep me posted with how you are doing and coping, just reading your signature and my experience has been very similar to yours.

Take care xx

Hi Laura

Many thanks for your reply, it is very encouraging to hear so many of you having only minor side effects.  Sets me at ease a little more :-)

I will have a read through of your diary this morning :-)

I hope you are keeping well?

Thanks xx

I am having trouble finding your post about the treatment, when i click on yor name it just takes me to the 5 most recent posts of yours or if I do it by date your first 5 posts, have you got any tips for me?

Hi Daisy

i have carried on taking  vitamin C and zinc, also calcium and my chemo nurse said that was ok. I'm drinking 2.5 lite water per day and putting loads of cream in to protect my skin. Feeling tired today with a bit of a headache but no fever so think thats ok. I'm going to have my 3rd radiotherapy this afternoon so will see how I feel later, 

keep positive and keep your strength up before it all starts,

keep in touch

julie xx

Hiya I was diagnosed with stage 2b2 cervical cancer and I did suffer with sickness diorea and constipation and was very I'll during treatment I was kept in hospital a couple of times for a few days at a time brackatherapy was horrendous has to have morphine most of the time through it I'm left with a leaking bladder and eather I'm constipated or diorea and sore hips and legs and my hands are sore to  from all the treatment I'm nearly one year clear in June from cc  sorry giving you a bad scenario I'm back and forth getting scans for my hips and legs ect and urology clinic and menopause clinic to see what they can do for me     

Stage 2b2 cc Dec 2015

They never say your clear of cancer for 5 years I was tolled I responded well to treatment in June 2015  checkups every 3 months  hope all goes well for u love Leanne 


That's my chemoradiation one and I also did one about brachytherapy. I'll get the link to that. I think it sounds scary but in actual fact I didn't find it too had x 



There you go x hope it helps put your mind at ease x 

You'll probably have to copy and paste into your browser x 

Hi Leanne,

Many thanks for sharing your story, I am sorry that you had such a hard time going through the treatment.  Great news that you have been clear now for one year and I hope you get some answers from yor clinics that you are having to attend.  Did you have any issues with your joints before you started treatment?  I had perthes disease as a child and had surgery but was told I would need a hip replacement in my 40's, I'm wondering if the radiotherapy will agrivate this or speed up the process?

Good luck with all your follow ups :-)


Thank you so much Phillepa :-)

No I was fine I had hurt my back while decorating that's how I ended up at the docs in with a sore back and leaving being rolled I might have cancer hope it won't aggravate your hips xx