Does this sound like a relapse in cancer?

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 11, 2011
A fellow caregiver asked...

I was diagnosed in Dec 02 with cervical cancer. I had a few brach treatments, no chemo, after TAH. I had to stop treatments after 2 months due to insurance dropping me. 6 months later, I finished the course. I've had constant infections in body at various sites over the yrs. Now I have severe back pain so bad I can hardly walk most days. I've also recently had lower left quadrant in pelvic area aches, some sharp pains,and a  gnawing feeling. My breasts also have developed pimple type bumps (6 of them on 1 breast) that have stayed for 5 months now. I have taken Cipro for some time & no results. I've not had a  checkup in over 3 yrs.  The Dr suggests CAT or MRI. What does this sound like to you? Thanks in TN

Expert Answers

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

Dear Anonymous,

I agree that to address these questions you need to have a full battery of tests and scans. MRIs and CAT scans are some of the best way to detect cancer that may have spread from the original site. There are also blood tests that look for markers that indicate cancer has spread.

You don't say what your current insurance status is, but please don't let lack of health insurance stop you from getting the care you need. Every community has a public hospital or other medical center that takes uninsured patients. If you don't have insurance and are not getting care because you can't afford to pay the doctor you previously used through your insurance, you'll need to switch your care to the institutions that serve the uninsured. If your income is low enough, you qualify for Medicaid, which will cover your medical expenses. Here is some information on Medicaid. You don't say how old you are, but if you're age 65 or older, you qualify for Medicare. If you are under 65 but suffer from a disability that prevents you from working, you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.