Vaginal discharge and pain after a pelvic exenteration
Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
I had recurrent cervical cancer and a pelvic exenteration 1 1/2yrs ago. I have continued to have a foul smelling vaginal drainage and bleeding. I am now occasionally bleeding rectally. I did not have colostomy, only urostomy and have also had blood in my urine. CT scan and IVP show no problems. I am also having a great deal of abdominal pain. Is there something else I should be doing?
Christina S. Chu, MD, Assistant Professor of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:
I think it is very important that you address your concerns with your physician. He or she is in the best position to discuss whether you need additional tests such as an MRI to evaluate for the presence of cancer recurrence. Pain and bleeding are terrible to suffer through, but even patients with no recurrence of cervical cancer may have these symptoms. Rectal bleeding may be due to radiation proctitis from prior radiation treatment, bleeding from urinary diversions may be related to urine pouch problems, and pain may persist for years even after tumor is adequately treated with surgery and radiation. There are no easy answers, but I hope that you will discuss these issues with your physician.