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First Signs...

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

I'm showing signs of anal cancer. I have an appointment today to see a different doc. I am losing my mind. I was at a gastro doc 3 weeks ago and he said everything looks fine with an inspection of the anal area only. But I think he may be blind. I feel blockage. I have a horrible rash I've had for some time, narrow stools and diarrhea, pain etc... I am so scared and just want to know what's going on! I'm in Chicago NW burbs. I'm sick to my stomach. I have a 14 yr. old severely autistic boy, and an 8 year old son too. What am I going to do?!!! I'm such a mess. :(

 

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

So I guess I'd like to hear your stories about what you were going through before diagnosis? What led to your diagnosis?

 

 

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

So I gues I'd like to hear your stories about what you were going through before diagnosis?

 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Looking back, it is hard for me to understand how any doctor could have missed my symptoms as anal cancer. First, I had what appeared to be a very painful Hemorrhoid. The pain increased with time. There was also blood in stools, fatigue, severe pain getting up from a chair, diarreah. The only way to confirm anal cancer is with a biopsy of the growth.

There is no use getting all upset. Anal cancer is rare. See a specialist and have a scope.

mxperry220
Posts: 419
Joined: Mar 2011

First, I would highly recommend you make an appointment with a colon rectal surgeon if you have not already arranged for that.  They are the experts and know what to look for.   My symptoms were severe straining when having a bowel movement.  Stools were think ribbon like and small amount of feces.  I never felt my colon was completely empty.  I would break into a cold sweat from the straining when having a BM.  This went on about six weeks befor I saw a colon rectal surgeon.  They ordered CT, MRI, and PET scans to facilitate diagnosis.  My tumor was partially blocking my anal opening.  The colon rectal surgeon removed about one third of the tumor surgically.  There was immediate relief from the straining even though there was some pain from the surgery but it was nothing compared to the straining I had when having a BM before the surgery.  The remainder of the tumor was taken care of through radiation and chemo.  I am 4 years 7 month post treatment.  Hope this helps some.

Mike

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

I have the appt. today at 12:15! Thank you for sharing your story Mike! It was very helpful to me! :)

 

jcruz
Posts: 343
Joined: Jan 2013

I too thought I had a hemorrhoid but then I began to experience frequent loose stools and bleeding.  I have a friend who had anal cancer about 10 years ago so I thought about her and that same "I thougt it was a hemorrhoid" experience and didn't waste too much time getting to my doctor (I definitely waited in denial for a little while but I was so miserable at that point that I really couldn't hold out for too long).  I was fortunate that both my primary doc and the gastro doc took it quite seriously.  I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy with a biopsy which revealed the cancer.  I then followed with a surgical biopsy for a bigger tissue sample. 

It's good that you're going to a different doctor today.  This is a rare cancer and there are other things that could be causing your symptoms.  Everything needs to be examined and ruled out.  Breathe.

Keep in touch.

Phoebesnow
Posts: 489
Joined: Apr 2011

Blood in stool

Feeling of fullness

Thin stools

Tucking my tumor in when in bathtub, could not sit comfortably on both cheeks (dr said it was a hemorroid.)

Occasionaly throwing up for no reason

Unexplained weight loss with voracious eating

Extremely fatigued

 

Night sweats

jcruz
Posts: 343
Joined: Jan 2013

Phoebesnow,

I too tucked in my tumor in the bathtub, thinking it was a prolapsed hemorrhoid.  I just kept on thinking I've got to talk to my doc about it at my next annual exam.  It's freaky now to think that I was actually touching my tumor.  And I never have told anyone about it.  I didn't have any trouble with sitting until my issues with Bartholin's cysts began and then it was nearly impossible to sit.

Janet

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

jcruz... when and how did they find the tumor. I was just at surgeon and he is sending me for colonoscopy first... I hope I don't spend too long jumping through hoops to get to the answer!

 

jcruz
Posts: 343
Joined: Jan 2013

Both my primary and the gastro doc felt something when they performed a DRE.  For the referral my doc said she felt a mass.  The gastro really underplayed it and said oh maybe that's just stool but she also scheduled a flexible sigmoidoscopy for the next day to look at it and take samples for biopsy.  She said only the sigmoidoscopy and not a colonoscopy was needed since she was only needing to look at the last six or so inches of the colon and I was able to do that procedure without any anesthesia.  The pathology report on those samples showed squamous cell carcinoma.  I had a surgical biopsy 2 weeks later combining the need for a larger piece of tissue for the lab and a gyno surgery for Bartholin's cysts.  It was a crazy few weeks.

Waiting for tests and appointments is agonizing especially if you're also in physical discomfort or pain.  I know.  Just try to stay calm (I know - easy to say maybe not so easy to do)  This is a slow growing cancer so there isn't a danger to you if you have to wait a few weeks for results.

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

Oh wow! Thank you jcruz!!! I appreciate your sharing. It helps a lot! and will try to relax for now. :)

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

I have all same symptoms and even after being to surgeon... he didn't "see" it. I have to go to gastro for full colonoscopy. When will they find it? unltrasound??? I need resolution soon!!!  I'm woke up all upset again. It's so hard to keep calm...

 

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3392
Joined: Jan 2010

Ask for an anoscope exam.  This is an exam where a short scope is inserted to view just the anal canal.  That's how my colorectal doctor found my cancer.  There is no prep required and it can be done right in the doctor's office.  If the doctor you are seeing does not do this exam or does not think it's necessary, find another doctor who will do this exam.  Many anal tumors are missed on colonoscopies because that test is not used to view the anal canal.  Anoscope is.  The only reason I had a colonoscopy 2 days after the anoscope where my cancer was discovered was to get a biopsy while I was knocked out.  Also, I had not yet had my first screening colonoscopy yet.   

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

Thank you mp327! I had one done 3-4 weeks ago they found nothing. Unfortunately I think Ithat've to do this, 

Then maybe ultrasound was mentioned? Will it show up there?!!! Or cat??? MRI??? What should I push for after this???

 

 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Is there a mass? I had a mass that could not be missed, but was misdiagnosed for years as a hemorrhoid. Think positive. Your symtpoms could be something far less serious. The surgeon should be quite familiar with anal cancer. They are the ones that usually diagnose it.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3392
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm sorry to hear you are having such troubling symptoms and have not been able to get a reason for such.  I'm glad you have a second opinion appt. today and I hope it's with a colorectal specialist.  My symptoms prior to diagnosis were:

Abdominal bloating

A feeling of never being emptied out after a BM

Fatigue

Mucous discharge

Constipation

Narrow Stools

Bleeding (the last symptom I noticed)

I hope your appt. gives you some answers and that all will be found to be normal.

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

hi mp327.  Was it hard for you to go to the bathroom & very narrow? if you son't mind me asking...

 

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3392
Joined: Jan 2010

I don't remember having a lot of pain with BM's prior to diagnosis.

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

Thank You all for the support. I'm so scared and leaving in about 30 minutes to see the doc. I want to thank all of you for sharing your first symptoms with me! I have all of them pretty much, so here goes nothing. I'm sure I'll be back today to update. This is so scary!!!

 

eihtak
Posts: 1012
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello, I just wanted to say welcome.....you are probably at your appointment as I write this so hope all is good news. (My symptoms were a combination of those above and I put off seeking treatment for a long time due to ??????????  Anyhow I am a little over two years post treatment now and doing great!

susan hopes's picture
susan hopes
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2013

Thank you everyone for your input. I have appt. again tomorrow to see the dr. that will do the colonoscopy...  I hope he can schedule it this week.  I'm trying desperately to keep my head above water here... but have to say that I'm not sure how well I am doing. Its important to keep it together in front of my boys, but inside my heart is breaking.  I don't even know for sure yet!!! You are all so amazing to endure all you have, and persevere the way you do! I am in Aw of all of you!  It is my honor to get to talk to all of you here. Really, I'm am more appreciative than I can express!!!  THANK YOU all for taking the time to chat withme  and share something so personal as this with me!!! <3 :)  I'm am overwhelmed by you...  I'll touch base again tomorrow to read your all posts and update.

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