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Squamous carcinoma

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi folks. I am here to post to get some information for a friend.

She was just diagnosed with a squamous anal carcinoma. I know that these are usually an adenoma, but her's was caused by a botched surgery many years ago, so this sort of cancer in this location is rare. She is in the very early stages of investigation (CT & MRI to be done in the next couple of days) and will see the cancer/surgical specialists later this week.

What sort of things should she be asking? My Dad had this cancer last year and decided to not take the radiation treatment because of risks of incontinence and damage to the bladder. Are there other significant risks to radiation, chemo and surgery? We realize that there is a possibility that she will require a permanent ileostomy as the tumor is 2 cm above the anal/rectal junction.

Typically this type of tumor responds well to radiation. Can anyone tell us about how that went for them? They have talked to her about the radiation and doing or not doing the surgery depending on what she wants to do.

Any personal experiences and information would be greatly appreciated.


Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

I too am just starting this journey...squamous cell rectal cancer.

I did find some info on the boards for Rare and Other Cancers, but very little on squamous cell.

As far as treatment reactions go, it seems like it varies from patient to patient. Her doctors can best tell her what the possibilities are. Tell her not to be afraid to ask because only that way can she make informed choices best for her.

As with any treatment there are always risks of side effects. From what I understand some have problems with bad burns from the raidation and problems with narrowing of the vagina and recurrent diarrhea.

It always comes down to what each individual feels is right for them and their personal situation. Again, information is the key.

Wishing your friend the best possible outcome.


Aud's picture
Posts: 480
Joined: Oct 2009

Mine is/was a different kind of cancer (rectal tumor - adenocarcinoma - just above the dentate line which is at the rectal/anal border), but I did have radiation treatment after surgery. The radiation targeted the pelvic area, with a heavier concentration at the tumor site during the last week of treatment.

I hope I'm not speaking too soon, but so far, I haven't had too many problems. some frequent, loose stools, but no diarrhea. As far as the bladder, I had some urinary urgency about the 3rd/4th week, but that went away too. The worst part was "The Burn" -- irritation around the anus and in the rectum and more so, burning/peeling in the vaginal area but it does get better after treatment.

During healing after radiation, the vagina will shrink/atrophy and become less elastic. I am currently using a vaginal dilator to keep the tissue stretched for sexual intercourse and also for gyneclogical exams. Intercouse is still a little painful, at times, but getting better. Besides the dilator, I use Replens (vaginal moisturizer) twice a week and Astroglide (lubricant) during sex and with the dilator, of course.

There are late effects of radiation, but after talking to my radiation oncologist about it, I decided not to worry about it unless I have reason to be concerned. I know what to look for.

If you or your friend have any questions about how to deal with some of the problems caused by radiation, if that's the route your friend decides to take, I'll be glad to try and help. Remember that the radiation oncologist/nurse can be helpful too.

Holding your friend in the Light,

Posts: 7
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for your prompt replies. I'm going to keep watching.

lizdeli's picture
Posts: 570
Joined: Jul 2009

There is a brand new Anal Cancer discussion board at this site. Click on discussion boards above and you will see it. Joanne was able to get it going and it's a good place to come and find info.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

That was me...lol...

I had a 2 inch tumor, and my treating docs didn't know quite which treatment path to follow....this was anal cancer in the rectum...

So, lucky for me, they decided to choose the type of cancer, not where it was. Chemo with 5FU and cisplatin. Rads concurrent. Their main goal was to reduce the tumor size so that I had the best chance of saving my spinchter.

It worked so well, that by the time I saw the surgeon (who, BTW, specializes in 'low bowel resections'....VERY important!!!!) there was nothing left to see of the tumor. We decided, based on my age (49) and my family situation (2 special needs kids) that we would go ahead with the resection, so I had a J-pouch procedure...removed my rectum, sigmoid colon and fashioned a new rectum from my descending colon. Total hysterectomy at the same time (I wasn't using this organ anymore, and it made the field for the resection easier to see). 5 years later, it's still doing well, and much of the time, I sort of forget about it....lol...till I eat something on my 'naughty' list...like beans...

What to ask...well, ask if there is a surgeon you can be referred to that specializes in low bowel resections. Ask what the recovery time is. My advice is to find someone who can give you an answer other than 'well, of course you will have a permanent ostomy'.

Also, it is my understanding that anal cancer is not usually treated with surgery, at least not the first go-round. My full blood sister had anal cancer 2 years after my cancers (I had breast 6 months after the rectal). She was treated with INTENSE radiation, and chemo. It was rough, but she is cancer free.

Hugs to your friend, and to you for caring enough to ask for advice....suggest she join here...it's a great support family....

Hugs, Kathi

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