• Rectal Radiation Damage

    Asked by jearlesred on Monday, March 18, 2013

    Rectal Radiation Damage

    Hello. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer at age 35. After chemotherapy and radiation, I've been told I have radiation damage to my rectum. It is extremely painful to use the bathroom and my diet has become very limited. I've begun hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which I'm told will help heal the blood vessels and nerve endings that were damaged. Has anyone else experienced this? Is there anything else I can do to speed up the healing process? I can't imagine living with this problem over a long period of time.

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Hi jearlesred,

      I'm Aliza, a BC patient. I'm also a retired Medical Librarian who offers referrals and research for people on this site and elsewhere. I'm familiar to some degree with Colon cancer because there are many people in my family who've had it (no one had BC [I'm a pioneer...;)]). It seems like a logical move to me that your Oncologist should be referring you to a Proctologist if she/he knows what you're experiencing. That's my best idea for you. I'm sure there are other Colon Cancer patients or medical professionals on the site with better ideas than mine.

      Wishing you a speedy recovery from your discomfort,

      over 3 years ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar

      How long ago was your reconnect surgery? Maybe your tissue needs time to recover with use.

      This is of course just a guess from someone experienced with familial surgical experience in the area, non-cancer related.

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      I am so sorry that you are having to go through this discomfort. I am not a patient however, I am an oncology nurse and have a few cervical patients who suffered from too much radiation that caused some organ/tissue damage (mostly bladder) and had to have hyperbaric treatments. The treatments worked quite well, and seemed to resolve their issues including repair of a hole in the bladder. I am sure that someone with experience in the treatment can give you better insight and I am sure others will reply to your post; I just wanted to let you know that this is a treatment with positive effects and with the exception of boredom, little side effects. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • Shanti's Avatar

      I am not in your county, but I did have treatment and surgery at Moffitt. I too feel,that my life is planned around where bathrooms are located. How and which doctor told you about the radiation rectal damage?

      over 3 years ago
    • jearlesred's Avatar

      Hi - I'm not sure if this is the best way to respond to the answers to my question regarding rectal radiation damage or not, but here goes. Thank you so much for your responses. I had my ileostomy reversal surgery in late November 2012. I know it takes some time to heal from this surgery - I'm sure that's part of why I've been having so many problems. But, at the urging from my surgical oncologist at Moffitt, Dr Malafa, I had a follow-up sigmoidoscopy (performed by Dr. Harris) which showed the radiation damage to my rectum. Dr. Harris then referred me to the Florida Hospital for hyperbaric oxygen therapy - which is quite boring! (: I do hope these treatments work. I'm at my 23 treatment and still experiencing the pain. I'm still hopeful!

      over 3 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      Yes. I am trying to get a line into the hyperbaric chamber which was not available a decade ago when I was treated.

      The pain fades (it has been 10+ years for me) but not the persistent bleeding. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.

      Thank you.

      P. S. I drink wheatgrass. It helps. I've not yet been able to make an enema of it although I am told that would help more. I eat 99% plant based foods. They help. I became a raw & living foodie. It helps. It did take four years until I was able to again use toilet paper. Please keep in touch.

      over 3 years ago
    • faymaster's Avatar


      My brother just had a colonoscopy/endoscopy done this month & it also showed damage to his intestines.

      His Dr told us he should be eating smaller meals 4-6xday which will help with the pain. He was eating big meals 3x's a day and going to the bathroom was not fun. He is also throwing up a lot which has caused bleeding in his stomach (all the stress on his stomach.) He isn't really restricted with his food, but he always tries to eat organic products and no red meat. He takes vitamins to make up for not eating red meat. Light meals (salads, rice, chicken breast) and soft sweet treats are some of the things he enjoys the most.

      Believe me, I'm not in his shoes, but I see it everyday and I can only imagine what you are going through.

      I try to always make sure I have the flushable wipes for him and the softest TP there is :)

      Good luck and I wish you all the best. My brother is 25 diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer last year. It has been a CRAZY journey I must say, but he is currently in remission. Just stick with what the docs tell you and keep fighting!! Don't give up. My brother wanted to give up numerous times, but he didn't. He is so thankful for everything the doctors/medicine has done for him.

      over 3 years ago
    • walton1410's Avatar

      After 43Direct Beam radiationd along with18 months of lupron, I was told I had developed Radiation Proteris. I began severe bleeding from a collapsed part of my color and rectum six months after then end of the high dose radiation.My GI doctor performed 14 procedures to cauterize the affected area thereby reducing the bleeding. Both my Oncologist and GI doctors recommended I begin Hyperbaric Oxyden Therapy. The treatment requires many session as it oxgonates the "wound bed tissue" and thereby promotes healing and prevents additional anemia. I have already taken 70 hyperbaric oxygen treatments sand I feel ot this saved my life. The wound burn is shrinking and I am feeling better. I had to stopped the daiy treatments due to upcoming surgery. Based on the progresss of the surgery, I will return to Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments on June 12,, 2013. This life saving treatment leaves me feeing wonderful after each session.

      over 3 years ago

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