, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 208-216,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 23 Jan 2011

A study of chronic pelvic pain after radiotherapy in survivors of locally advanced cervical cancer



Chronic pelvic pain (persisting pain in hips, groins or lower back) is poorly described in studies of cervical cancer survivors (CCSs). The aims of this study were to describe chronic pelvic pain and associated variables in CCSs surveyed >5 years post-radiotherapy, and to compare the presence of pain in hips and lower back in CCSs with findings in the general female population.


Ninety-one CCSs treated with radiotherapy between 1994 and 1999 were in 2005 included in a cross-sectional questionnaire-based study. They were asked about demographic variables, clinical symptoms, mental distress, and quality of life (QOL). Normative data (NORM) were collected from a population-study of Norwegian females.


Pain in lower back and hips was significantly more prevalent (p < .001) in CCSs compared to NORMs. 35/92 (38%) of the CCSs had chronic pelvic pain. These women had significantly lower QOL, higher levels of anxiety and depression and more bladder and intestinal problems than those without chronic pelvic pain. In a multivariable regression model, use of analgesics and intestinal and bladder problems were significantly associated with chronic pelvic pain in the CCSs.


CCSs have a higher prevalence of pain in lower back and hips than women in the general population, which might be due to late effects of radiation. 35/92 (38%) of the CCSs suffer from chronic pelvic pain, shown to be associated with high overall mental and somatic morbidity.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

Evaluation and management of pelvic pain is important in follow-up of CCSs treated with radiotherapy.