how do u know if you have secondty cancer

i have just been reading posts and did not realise that you could get secondrys how do you know if you have i had 9mm lump removed in june and i was not given chemo because of chest problems/ My cancer was hormonal and no node involvement so treatment was radiotherapy and had my ovaries blasted too im now on arimidex i am experiencing aches and pains which i know are quite common but i am suffering with cramp especially when im in bed and stretch my legs it starts in the arch of my foot and then into my shin and back of legs its happening everyday now.
i am waiting for a follow up appointment to see my onc as my last rads were in oct after reading some of these posts i am very nervous about secondries do you have bleeding or something if its gone into liver or lungs etc


Hi Jackie,

To help you learn more about secondary breast cancer I have posted below for you the link to BCC’s publication on Secondary BC, but as I am sure your fellow forum users will also tell you, not everyone diagnosed with breast cancer goes on to get secondaries so please do try not to worry too much about this. If you still have further questions after you have read the booklet and want to speak to someone in confidence then the staff on the helpline will be only too happy to talk to you about this. Lines are open Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm and Sat 9am - 2pm, calls are free, 0808 800 6000

Link to secondary publication :

Hope this helps, kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator

Hi Jackie,

It is understandable that you are worrying but I would just like to say that some of the aches you describe sound like possible side-effects from the arimidex. These hormonal drugs often produce cramps and aches and pains which tend to ease during the day as you become more active. I hope your pains are nothing worse than this.


Hi Jackie, cramps are a really common side effect of Arimidex…I had them too!

Jackie - I was on Arimidex for 4 yrs and had bad hip, hand and feet pain, as well as cramping in my toes. I switched to Aromasin and the pains have gone.


Hi Jackie

Sorry about your anxieties. The aches and pains you are experiencing are a common side effect of arimidex. Do mention them to your doctor at your check up.

You ask about secondary breast acncer. Well this is when breast cancer cells spread through the bloodstream or lymph system to other parts of the body and form tumours there. The commonest places for breast cancer to spread are lungs, liver, bones and brain (least usual of the four). Bleeding is not usually a symptom. (anal bleeding may be a symptom of colon/bowel cancer)

The symptoms of secondary breast cancer vary from person to person and inlcude bone pain, breathlessness and a cough,(lung) abdominal discomfort (liver), bad headaches (brain). We all get these kind of symptoms from time ot time so its easy to worry. Most doctors suggest that if you get any unusal symptom whihc doesn’t go away after 2/3 weeks that you should insist on getting it checked out ‘just in case’ People who didd not have lymph node involvment do get secondaries but they are much less likely to than those who had lymph node involvement.

Why don’t you talk to your doctor or breast care nurse about this…sometimes worrying about the unknown can be worse tha having some clear information to guide you.

very best wishes


Just to second what others have said, Jackie - certainly sounds as if it could be down to the Arimidex. I was on Arimidex for several years and had aches and pains - and dreadful night time cramps (just as you describe every night and also in my hands as well as feet and legs). My onc gave me quinine sulphate which helped, so you might like to ask whether that is possible for you. Now I am no longer on Arimidex (unfortunately cos I was diagnosed 18m ago with secondaries in the liver) the cramps have gone.

As Jane says, secondaries are far less likely for someone with no node involvement but do sometimes happen. SO best to have a chat with your onc or BCN who hopefully can put your mind at rest.

Kay x

thank you for your comments have a lovely xmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR XX

On your regular check ups you’ll have blood tests taken, and they monitor for three tumour markers which will flag up any changes. My docs used to say, leave the worrying to us and get on with your life (and flag up any unusual symptoms that seem to be staying around/or getting worse) - I was on three-monthly checkups for some time cos of affected nodes, and then latterly, sixmonthly - but it’s sometimes easier said than done to not worry, and I think most of us do get a bit uptight and wound up in the days/weeks leading up to the checkups. Which seems to miraculously resolve afterwards!

I found that I gradually sort of ‘grew out’ of the cramps and various aches and pains stayed around for ages but just gradually resolved themselves over quite a long period…

Good luck :slight_smile: