Numbness on stomach - anyone else??

I’m probably going a bit doolally here so apologise if my question sounds a bit odd. Blame the drugs!

I have bone mets in spine and ribs and have been on zoladex, arimidex and zometa for over 2 years now after all initial chemo,mx,anc and rads on left side. For the last 6 weeks or so I have had a lot of backache which is worse at night and a sort of ache/cramp/discomfort round from my back towards my liver area. Mentioned to registrar when I was at hospital last time and he ordered a bone scan which was done before xmas, am having an ultrasound on Thurs and then back in to see him for results etc next Thurs 13th.

I had my latest zoladex on my right hand side last Fri and applied emla cream as usual beforehand. All went fine. Since then however, the skin to the right of my belly button has felt numb as if it has the cream on, even though the emla was put on lower down. Has anyone else had anything like this or heard of it being a side effect of the drugs I’m having??? I will mention it when I go back to oncology next week and to the u/s person this week. Feel like a real hyperchondriac and wondering now - most unlike me, I hasten to add!!

Cheers, Liz

Hi Liz

I hope that you had a good Christmas. Sorry to hear that you have more worries. I have an ache in my back that I have had for a few months, but the scans don’t show anything up. I wouldn’t know where my liver was, but my back pain is in the centre part of my back towards the left hand side. i don’t have a numb tummy though. Sorry this doesn’t help you! but I thought I’d share the fact that my back does ache, particularly when I lie down.

Wishing you a fantastic happy, healthy and worry free 2011, hope to talk to you soon, are you chatting Tomorrow? xx

Hiya Nicky,

Thanks for replying !!! Am being a bit of a drama queen but it’s just a bit odd. Hey-ho.

Had a quiet Xmas and New Year - no kids and just not a crimbo person so it was fine. Did a bit of sales shopping at Zara on an unplanned trip to Manchester and bought some tops I’d seen at full price and loved so it would have been very rude not to buy them in the sale…

Hope you had a really relaxing, enjoyable festive season and of course wish you every good thing for this year. Speak tonight !!!

Liz xx

Hi Lizcat. i guess numbness often means it’s a nerve being compressed somewhere. This could be due to mechanical wear and tear on your spine or changes in the shape of your spine mets, as I’m sure you’ve already thought. The spine is such a complex structure and add in some potential changes due to mets or shrinking mets, and it woudn’t be surprising for it to ache and/or put pressure on nerves.
It’s horrible waiting for clarification, time drags on and all you can think about is what it might be.
Thinking of you

Thanks Jacquie !

Yes, I must admit one of the things that went through my mind was nerve compression as although it’s numb it ‘feels’ like the area that’s still numb following my anc 3 years ago. The numbness seems to be at the same level as my spine mets too as far as I’m aware. Plus, when I’ve been sitting in the bath and moved to a different position (difficult to explain as it’s a 3/4 size bath!) that’s more like half lying down, I get a sort of tingling sensation in that area like feeling is coming back!! Soon as I move again, that stops…

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so dramatic as it’s only been a few days since I’ve been aware of it and I usually work off the two week basis for niggles.

Cheers again,

Liz x

Hello Liz, Happy New Year first of all. I was interested to learn you have back ache and bone mets; I have been suffering lower back ache and pain in right side for many months now but scans show nothing - last one being 2009. I take lots of medication, especially at night as I too have trouble sleeping because of the pain in my lower back, hips, joints - turning over is a nightmare so I just lay flat and ready for my coffin! I had breast ca. in 2007 - grade 3 - left mastectomy and axillary clearance - leaving me with lymphodaema. I couldn’t have chemo (FEC) as, after only 1 dose nearly died from infection which lasted for months so was too late to try again. Had radio. then herceptin for year. Felt okay when finished but back pain is driving me mad. I wonder why this happens after cancer. I too feel like a hypochondriac, especially when x-rays and scans show nothing. How did you know you had spine mets? Did you have any symptoms? I don’t even have a blood test when I see my onco. every 6 mts, do you? Anyway, regarding the back pain I must admit I take co-codamol, tramadol, amytriptyline and sleeping tablets every day, as pain makes me depressed so I wonder whether you are taking anything for the pain to help you get a good nights sleep which is most important. I sincerely wish you well and sorry for babbling on too long - for me to find someone who also has back pain with no reason is like a light going on as I felt like a fraud. Take care of yourself and keep well. Ann

Hi Ann,

Thanks for the good wishes.

My spine mets were diagnosed at the start in July 07 so have always been there although chemo got rid of some. I know that some of my backache is just one of those things mixed with the drugs I’m on and the weather! Get bone scan results next week.

Had abdominal u/s this morning, doctor was a bit brusque but did say that my liver, abdomen and gall bladder were all normal so that’s a relief. Just have to see what bone scan showed but think it must have been ok as they haven’t rung me yet to say anything different. The backache, inside ache and numbness are still all there but perhaps it is more muscular and down to how I ‘hold’ myself.

Thanks to you all for your replies. Take care.


Hi Liz,

I don’t think you are a drama queen, or worrying unnecessarily, especially when you have already been dx with bone mets. I think any pain that lasts for some time has to mean something has changed. Although I was diagnosed with extensive bone mets back in 2002 I have been fairly lucky that I have not had too much pain with it considering how bad it is. But I experienced ongoing pain 2 years ago and had quite frequent mri’s, and bone scans, that all came back with no change. I do get a lot of tingling & pins & needles that run down my thigh. I have been on a lot of pain meds since then and it was only the last few months that I had another MRI after almost one year since previous one and this time it was clear what was going on. I had a soft tumour growing alongside the lower part of my spine which was wrapping round the nerves that exit there. I had a lot of rads to the hip and lower spine 2 yrs ago when it first started and had more when they discovered the tumour. Although none of this has eased the pain I am hopeful that it has zapped the tumour. It has shown it is stable on the last MRI so I keep fingers crossed and keep taking the pills!! I think what I am saying is that you should keep a eye on this pain and report any changes. Your onc should be requesting further MRI’s from time to time to see if there are any further changes - so don’t be afraid of being thought neurotic etc. It is great that the u/s showed everything was ok with your other ‘bits’.


Thank you for posting Dawn - you always provide me with hope and inspiration, especially as you are one of the ‘old hands’ (if you know what I mean!) with the bone mets!! I had seen your posts a while ago about that soft tissue tumour and thought about you but didn’t add anything cos it was outside of my experience. Inevitably, your experience has crossed my mind.

I have the follow-up appointment at the oncology clinic next Thurs so will ensure I ‘push’ a bit more to get investigations done assuming the bone scan is stable again and they don’t drop some bombshell!! It’ll probably be the registrar again as he referred me but he was very nice and actually said that tests done 6 months earlier don’t necessarily mean the results will be the same now. I obviously understand that and respect him saying that.

I’ve never had either a CT or MRI scan but perhaps now may be the time to see about one or the other… At least it’s not a mega pain I get, it’s a deep ache and I’m keeping off the painkillers for the mo so I can describe it to them when I go next week cos sod’s law, that will be the one day it’s ok !!!

Anyway, cheers again for your post. Take good care of yourself and i truly hope your tumour has been well and truly zapped and you can manage by keep taking the pills.

Liz xx

Well, an update after seeing my onc (the lady herself today) and telling her about the aches and numbness. She confirmed that my liver, gallbladder, abdomen and pancreas were all normal - phew! However, she did say the aches and numbness could be caused by pressure on the nerves as my spine mets are at that level and that the bone scan shows that met as slightly ‘hotter’ than the last scan. She’s going to arrange one rads blast to the area and do a CT scan later (have to bribe the onc nurses to cannulate me!!) and thinks this may do the trick. On the positive side, she said the slight worsening of the spinal met doesn’t merit a change in drugs at this point and some of my rib mets have improved. And there’s no problem with me trotting off to Paris with my Mum for a few days next week !!!

Liz x

A quick update - had rads to t8,9 and 10 a week and a half ago. After an initial worsening of aches etc, they seem to have got a lot better the last 3/4 days and, apart from the rads tiredness, feel less drained. I have also noticed the last couple of days that the numbness on my stomach area seems to be disappearing too so it looks like it may well have been caused by pressure from bone mets.

Also had CT scan last week but have yet to get results as waiting for a post-rads/scan appointment with onc. Fingers crossed though that the rads worked and the scan was ok too.

Thanks to all of you kind enough to reply to my query.


Lovely to get your encouraging news - and you are a true inspiration to make sure that I don’t ignore things and get assertive with wanting investigations.

Thanks for sharing

Bump for Dawn