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Just Diagnosed and Trying To Decide Whether To Do the Treatment.

cork56
Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi Everybody,
I gratefully found this board this morning and have been pouring through the posts. I'm a 55 year old woman with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Anal Canal. A month ago, I had 3 lesions removed, all with HPV features. (I'm still suffering the aftermath of that one!) I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy:-). I am told I need radiation and have an appt. on the 16 of August for a consult. My understanding is radiating "that area" is a horror show. Although that does concern me, what concerns me most is the long term side effects of radiation. I've been readng the posts on hip, back pain etc. It seems to me from the little I've read, that one's quality of life following the initial recovery is none to bright. I find myself undecided as to whether to go through with it at all. Any wise words would be ever so appreciated! Thanks in advance to all you brave souls!
Cheers,
C

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 501
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi -

I think most of us would say that it's better to be here, side effects and all, than not. I know I would. I have minimal side effects - hip pain and difficulty walking more than about 250 feet without stopping to rest. But that's okay - I'll take it over letting the cancer grow.

If I were you, I would definitely get the treatment. At least go to the consult. The only alternative is a colostomy, and those have not had better results than the radiation/chemo. (The typical treatment plan is 6 weeks of radiation with two rounds of chemo.) The treatment is definitely not fun, but you can do it.

And please stay in touch with us - there are some wonderful people on this board that will help you through it.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2848
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm sorry you've been diagnosed with anal cancer. However, you'll find lots of support here. While it's true that this treatment can be brutal, it's for a relatively short time. Recovery happens fairly quickly. As for long-lasting/permanent side effects, I am nearing 3 years post-treatment and my life is pretty much back to normal. I have had some hip pain and stiffness at times, but was running, so that could have contributed to it. I can only speak from my own personal experience, but even though I was very miserable during treatment, it was all worth it. Please go to the consultation, but be armed with lots of information beforehand and a list of questions you want to ask your doctor. I would recommend going to the website for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN.org) and registering. Then you can get the latest treatment guidelines for anal cancer, with a lot of good information about staging, etc. Print out the guidelines and take them with you to the doctor. You'll do yourself a real favor by being well-informed before that appt. I wish you the very best.

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 519
Joined: Apr 2009

sorry that you are here. but yes, do the tx. you can make it thru it. we all have side effects . some worse than others. i had a huge excisional biopsy and that was tough to heal from then radiation and chemo. i did have side effects but i worked thru them. you can too. your body will heal itself. how long is different in each person. stay on this site and get all kinds of hints as to how to manage the tx. better. sephie

patacz
Posts: 64
Joined: Sep 2010

This is an aggresive type of cancer, at least mine was, so don't delay too much. The sooner you get treated the better off you are. I am extremely sensitive to pain, and on the last few days I didn't want to go and finish them anymore. But I completed my tx, thanks to encouragment of family, and I'm happy I did and very pleased with the results. You can do it, it won't be easy, but it'll be worth it.

lizdeli's picture
lizdeli
Posts: 520
Joined: Jul 2009

Anal cancer can be cured. The treatment is not easy, but as others have said, it's better than the alternative. I'm almost two years post treatment. Some side effects, but nothing I can't deal with. The treatment saved my life.
Liz

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 743
Joined: May 2011

My prognosis with treatment is so good I could not walk away from treatment. Also, I was pretty far along when it was discovered and suffering from a lot of pain. So I could see the direction not having got treatment thus far was going.

Make sure you have the best cancer treatment you can get and then let them do their work. We are not experimental. The protocol has been around almost thirty years.

My advice is take one day at a time and you'll get through it. It's too overwhelming to think about six weeks.

All the best and stay with us. It will do you good.

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