I asked my onc yesterday about those awful aches - after your anecdotes of the GP tendency to assume arthritis, and I won't accept that. Mine are getting worse and worse, I can't move my hands at all in the morning now, and my shoulders are painful to varying degrees, every other one like my hips and knees are complaining. I've been telling friends I feel like chemo has aged me years overnight.
She said instantly it was that wretched galloping menopause to blame. The sudden withdrawal of oestrogen causes menopausal arthralgia (a term I hadn't heard before) and that the only answer is really either HRT (no good for my endometroid OC which they believe is is hormone linked) or painkillers, plus exercise/stretching.
I looked up and found this paper "Menopausal Arthralgia: fact or fiction" - so there is evidently some debate about this. Copying the abstract here for info:
Arthralgia is experienced by more then half of the women around the time of menopause. The causes of joint pain in postmenopausal women can be difficult to determine as the period of menopause coincides with rising incidence of chronic rheumatic conditions such as osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, prevalence of arthralgia does appear to increase in women with menopausal transition and is thought to result from reduction in oestrogen levels. Similar syndrome occurs following sudden withdrawal of hormone replacement therapy or treatment with aromatase inhibitors. Various interactions between sex hormones and pain processing pathways, immune cells and chondrocytes have been demonstrated but undoubtedly require further research. Whilst, at present, no specific treatment exists for menopausal arthralgia, a number of conservative measures may be effective. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been shown to have some benefit in alleviating arthralgia associated with menopausal transition, and can be considered in women who report distressing vasomotor symptoms. Simple analgesia, weight loss and physical exercise should be encouraged particularly in women with underlying osteoarthritis. Finally, other factors commonly associated with chronic pain and menopausal transition such as fatigue, poor sleep, sexual dysfunction and depression need to be addressed.
Which isn't terribly helpful. However, interestingly the onc suggested that I try daily ibuprofen - but not bother with any proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole. She had it heard of anything about this in relation to cancer recurrence though but then said "it can't hurt - why not try it"
Not sure if I emerged more or less informed/confused!