Nov 16, 2011 - 2:19 pm
Hi, all. I've been reading through this forum for a couple days after finding it researching information. I apologize in advance for the length of my post. I'll state from the get go that I KNOW I should be check by a medical professional, but we've not had health insurance for a few years, and while we are enrolled now, coverage doesn't begin until January 1, 2012, so I am really, really trying to avoid anything that might create a pre-existing condition situation where I won't be able to have treatment covered IF it is something serious.
I am concerned that I MAY have anal cancer. I have been feeling ill for quite some time now and only recently did it occur to me to link it to what I have always assumed were hemorrhoids.
I am 42 years old and have had bowel issues for so long I've come to think of them as normal, I guess. Mostly constipation with serious straining for a couple of years now, although prior to that, and sometimes still occasionally, I have diarrhea. When my BMs are "normal" (meaning I don't have to strain) they are usually very thin. I never feel as if I've completely emptied my bowels after going to the bathroom.
For the past two years or more I have had what I assume are hemorrhoids. I have occasional bleeding, but not always. And (sorry if graphic) I recently took a peek with a mirror at the anal area. I don't even know how to describe what's there w/o being gross. The entire anus is completely surrounded by a growth or growths. Kind of looks like a walnut when you split it in half? I don't know...it's a difficult visual to put into words. It is not extremely painful - uncomfortable, yes, but not painful really. I would think that hemorrhoids this size would be much more painful. I can't even tell where the opening is. I've tried using hemorrhoid OTC treatments with no relief.
As I said above, I only recently considered anal cancer. I've been feeling what could be described as "poorly" for the last 9 - 12 months with significant fatigue, some weight loss (and I'm already very thin), loss of appetite, insomnia, and recently low back pain for no reason I can think of.
While researching I learned that HPV is associated with anal cancer. I haven't had a pap smear for a few years now, but when I was in my early 20s I had an abnormal finding of cervical dysplasia and had the cryo?/freezing procedure done. Paps thereafter were normal. I do not know or remember if HPV was mentioned or even tested for at that time, but read that cervical dysplasia is often associated with HPV, and of course, anal cancer.
I know that you all cannot provide medical advice, and don't expect it. I will get to a doctor ASAP after the first of the year I guess. Although I am VERY afraid of waiting another 6 weeks, part of me also thinks if I've waited this long....?
I guess I'm just hoping to hear that I'm not completely off-the-wall crazy for even thinking of anal cancer. And I'm also worried that when I do go the doctor I'm going to be patted on the head and brushed off and I am so not good with confrontation with medical professionals.
Thanks if you read all this...just typing it out makes me feel like I can breathe a little better.