CSN Login
Members Online: 4

My Wife just diagnosed

dubois1961
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2011

My wife has just been diagnosed with anal cancer via a colonoscopy. The whole tumor was removed during that procedure (I don't think that is standard is it?). I thought a biopsy was supposed to be done then radiation/chemo. The GI doc(kept referring to it as a polyp though-it is has squamous cells and is hpv positive) and lab report said the tumor is 15mm the Oncologist said about 2cm. She had a CT scan done that was supposedly clear, but came back with a 2mm spot on liver that they were confident it wasn't related to the anal cancer. The CT scan showed no lymph node involvement. She will start radiation and chem within a week. Is this normal? They did not stage it either. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks...

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2948
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm so sorry to hear of your wife's diagnosis. You've found a good forum for support and I hope you'll keep us posted on how things progress with her treatment. Sometimes, most of the tumor can be removed. Obviously, your wife's tumor was biopsied and showed squamous cell cancer and HPV. The fact that it was 2cm. would probably make her a stage 2. My tumor was 2cm. also and that's sort of on the fence between stage 1 and 2. I do hope that the spot on her liver is unrelated, but I would keep asking the doctors to explain their reasoning that it's unrelated to the cancer and hopefully they are closely monitoring it. It's great that there is no lymph node involvement. Chemo/radiation is the standard treatment for anal cancer, even if the tumor has been excised. That way any rogue cells will be killed. Normally, two rounds of chemo are given, the first in week one, the second in week five, concurrent with 6 weeks of radiation (that may vary a little). I would highly recommend that you log onto the website for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network @ www.NCCN.org and register. Once you do that, you will have access to the latest information and guidelines for treating anal cancer. It will probably prompt many questions for your wife's doctors and being informed will help you both get through this. While it's not an easy treatment, it is relatively short, as compared to other cancers, and has high success rates. I am now closing in on 3 years post-treatment with no evidence of disease. Please let us know how we can help you and your wife get through this. She will get through it just like the rest of us have--one day at a time. I wish you both all the very best.

sissy310
Posts: 300
Joined: May 2010

Dear Dubois1961 - Martha explained it and gave you some valuable information (as she did me a year ago). I am so sorry to hear about your wife's diagnosis. As Martha said, this is a good forum to ask questions and get answers from those of us who have been there. My tumor was large (over 8mm). Mine was found during a hemmorhoidectomy and the surgeon removed 3cm of it not realizing it was longer - that was when I found out it was HPV related squamous cell cancer. I then went through chemo and radiation per the Nigro protocol. I believe some members have had their tumors removed in total before treatment but I will let them pipe in. In my case it was some removed, some not. I did find the NCCN guidelines to be helpful to me and actually took a copy with me to the first oncology/colo-rectal surgeon meetings as a guide for me to ask questions. Please keep us posted. Marilyne

MsNel
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2011

Dubois, thanks on behalf of your wife (and women everywhere) for asking these questions. I am 53 and was diagnosed with a 3 cm stage 2 squamous cell anal cancer tumor found during my very first routine colonoscopy in Jan 2011. What a surprise, but as it turns out, I had HPV, which I now know makes it no surprise. I underwent 6 weeks of radiation, simultaneously with 2 forms of chemo (5FU and cistplatin) at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and am now recovering from the treatment and will soon have post-treatment scans. I, too, asked the same questions you are, like why surgery before biopsy? I was told by my first doctor that the tumor would have to come out anyway, so surgery was normal to check it, plus the chances if it not being malignant were small. I had the surgery. However, my second opinion for further treatment was when I went to MD Anderson, where their new protocol is NO surgery, but radiation to "melt" the tumor instead. It was too late for me as to surgery, but I did have the radiation and chemo there. Pre-treatment, I was extremely healthy, in excellent physical shape, highly energetic, and not yet menopausal. All of that, plus a hugely positive attitude and great faith in God, helped me to retain my hair (I lost not a hair on my head), have very minimal nausea, and continue working the entire time (I am a professional and own my own business). I never even considered having a colostomy. Yes, the treatment was tough, and I am still recovering from radiation burns, digestive difficulty especially in the colon, and the effects of sudden menopause since the radiation destroys the ovaries immediately. But, over all, I can say your wife will most likely be fine. My colonoscopy doctor told me early on that, in medical school, they were given a list of cancers and advised that, if you had to pick a cancer to have, the one to pick would be anal cancer. Most treatable, highly curable. Good luck to you and your wife. Keep being supportive. It is scarey, but you both can do it!

lizdeli's picture
lizdeli
Posts: 521
Joined: Jul 2009

My story is almost exactly as yours. was treated at MDA too. My tumor was about 2.5 cm and I would have been a stage II but there were too small posts in some lypmh nodes so that took me over the edge to stage III. I am 21 months post treatment and thank God I am doing well and there is no sign of cancer. I had the Cisplatin and it does not cause hair loss like Mitomcyin does and it's less toxic on the body. Also went into instant menopause, boy that was fun!!!

Wishing you well.
Liz

Worden4's picture
Worden4
Posts: 24
Joined: Jun 2009

My cancer was too large to be removed. I think your wife had hers caught early enough to have it removed safely. That is a good sign. The chemo that is usually used should not cause her to lose her hair. If she does begin to lose her hair have them check her vitamin B level(and thyroid), as that is what happened with me. My body had a low vitamin B level which can cause hair loss. Also I would recommend not only checking the site that Martha recommends, but keeping a record of all the things she has happening during the treatments and after. This will help with the different doctors that she may need to see. I personally had five different doctors. I wish you both the best through this. I know how trying it is and we are all here for you. I have to say, I also had polyps removed. Not until almost a year later, but my cancer was much more advanced than your wife's. Keeping a file on all the paperwork that will be given to the two of you will also help. I also kept a medical paper with all the medications on it, the amounts, what they were, how often, etc. this will help also. Take it with you whenever she goes to a doctor, or hospital.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network