Hello, struggling with symptoms following chemotherapy

Flossie73 Member Posts: 2
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:10 in Living with arthritis

Hi everyone,

I'm struggling with daily pain in my finger joints, toes, elbows, neck and hips and chest weall. The pain moves around and is worse in the mornings when I wake up. I have difficulty opening jars, driving and often drop things due to pain and stiffness.

I finished 12 months of dose dense chemotherapy for breast cancer in July 2021 and my symptoms came on soon after, aged 47. Blood tests for RA have come back clear but I'm wondering if I might have either sero negative arthritis and/or fibromylagia. I feel a lot of heat in my joints, along with a flu like heaviness and unrefreshing sleep.

My specific question is, does anyone in this community have experience of arthritis following a chemo induced menopause please? I'm struggling mentally with all of this, on top of the cancer diagnoses and fear of recurrence.

Thank you so much for reading!


  • CarylW
    CarylW Moderator Posts: 233

    Hello @Flossie73

    I am glad you have found our supportive community and I hope you will get a response from someone who has been through the same experience as you. It isn't surprising that you are struggling after all you have been through.

    As I understand it, seronegative arthritis is an inflammatory condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis and people experience the issues you have described. There are a couple of case studies on our website, but neither of them relates to chemo, so I think that link will possibly mean a discussion with your oncologist.

    This may also be helpful which is a case study about the links between the menopause and pain/stiffness in the joints:

    Finally, some information on fibromyalgia.

    Do let us know how you get on. You have already been through so much with treatment for breast cancer, I hope you get some help with your questions.

    With best wishes


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  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,600

    I went in the other direction. The chemo, after my breast cancer, many years ago, made my RA much better. didn't realise at the time that methotrexate was a key ingredient of Chemo. I now take methotrexate for my RA (in much smaller doses) and it works well.

    My - pure guess - would be that you had a sero-negative form of inflammatory arthritis and your body is now protesting because its fix (in the chemo) has disappeared. To me, it's imperative that you see a rheumatologist who can tell you if that is indeed so because, if it is, you do need a disease modifying drug.

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  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,020

    I'm with @stickywicket here. @Flossie73

    Ask to be referred to a Rheumatologist there are other tests which can be done to rule in (or out) another form of inflammatory arthritis. They blood test which shows the Rheumatoid Factor is not positive in a few other kinds,

    Tests including ultrasounds on hands can show inflammation for example.

    Best of luck and do let us know how you get on

    Toni x