Next Steps

Sills5 Member Posts: 1

I had a colonoscopy last week and a small tumor at the rectum was discovered, the gastroenterologist was able to feel it during the initial exam prior to actually beginning the scope procedure.  He took a biopsy and I was told on Monday that it was cancer.  He did not actually tell me it was anal cancer, I am assuming this due to it being just inside the anus.  He wants me to see a surgeon this week and have a CT scan, I am then to go back and see him next week.  Should I be seeing an oncologist instead of a general and vascular surgeon or as well as?  I do not know what I should be asking and what my next steps are so I would appreciate any guidance you have.


  • Jane s
    Jane s Member Posts: 77 Member

    Hi there, I'm sorry you are going through this, it's about the most terrifying thing you can hear from a doctor, and right now, when you don't even know what kind of cancer it is or what treatment you will have, is especially scary.  Finding this site is one of the best things you could do.  My very basic understanding is there are two types of cancer in this area, colo-rectal cancer which is adinocarcinoma, or anal cancer which is squamous cell carcinoma.  Adinocarcinoma starts in an organ and squamous cell in skin cells (again, my basic understanding).  My biopsy/CT showed cancer right away and they initially told me it was stage 3 colo-rectal cancer, which scared the s*** out of me, a few days later that they called to tell me it was squamous cell, I don't know why it takes longer to figure that out.  The treatment is very different depending on what type of cancer it is and the colo-rectal surgeon is the person who knows about all of it and can make the best recommendation.   I'm sure you will see an oncologist soon enough.  One piece of advice, bring someone with you to your doctor visits who can keep track of all the information for you.  You will be overwhelmed.

    You said it's a small tumor? That's good news, with all cancer, the earlier you catch it the better.  Try not to worry too much right now,  cancer treatment gets better all  the time, more and more people are surviving.  Someone said "this isn't your grandfathers cancer", meaning it's not the death sentence it once was.   Keep thinking positive.  If it's anal cancer, the success rate is very high.  

    Please keep up updated, and good luck!


  • Ohmy
    Ohmy Member Posts: 102 Member
    Upon diagnosis of Stage 3

    Upon diagnosis of Stage 3 anal cancer, I was referred to a radiologist oncologist.  This type of cancer is usually treated with chemo and radiation.

  • tanda
    tanda Member Posts: 174 Member


    Of course you are worried and confused; at this point you haven't been given enough specific information to chart a course.  There is probably more information in the biopsy specimen than just indicating the tissue is malignant.

    I agree with Jane S that it is a colo-rectal surgeon  that should be consulted. Depending on the final diagnosis, a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist may become part of the team. Hopefully you will be treated in a cancer center that treats many GI cancers and all members of the team work out a treatment plan for you. The CT and maybe other imaging studies will provide more information

    Please stay in touch .  There are many people here who have had alot of experience with anal cancer.  If it turns out to be colon or rectal cancer, we can refer you to excellent information/support sites for people with other GI cancers.  

    First step is to get a recommendation for a colo-rectal surgeon.



  • Mollymaude
    Mollymaude Member Posts: 431 Member
    edited October 2017 #5

    Like Jane said there are different types of cancer low in the GI tract. Your best prognosis will be if it is squamous cell anal cancer. That information should already be in your pathology report. I would call doctor back and find out what kind of cancer it is. Then educate yourself as much as you can- that really helped me feel a little more in control- I like to know as much as I can, that's how I dealt with it. I think it is never too soon to see an oncologist. If it really is anal cancer you probably won't get surgery- treatment is chemo and radiation. It's important to get a scan too - to check and make sure it's not in the lymph nodes or anywhere else in your body. Please let us know how you are doing and what you find out.

  • Mollymaude
    Mollymaude Member Posts: 431 Member

    I also think you should keep appt already scheduled with surgeon as well.

  • mp327
    mp327 Member Posts: 4,440 Member
    edited October 2017 #7

    Welcome here, but I am sorry you have gotten a diagnosis of anal cancer.  You've already gotten a lot of good information from others.  It seems to me your next step should be to see a colorectal surgeon, just as your doctor has recommended.  That is usually the first step before seeing an oncologist.  If it is squamous cell anal cancer like most of us here had, your treatment will be chemo and radiation, which will mean seeing both a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist.  But first things first with the surgeon, who will then refer you to the other doctors.  I had squamous cell cancer, so that is the type I am most familiar with.  If this is what your path report shows, then you should be very hopeful that the cancer will be erradicated, as the treatment for that type of anal cancer is very effective. 

    The advice I would give you right now is 1) try to stay calm until you know all of the details from your biopsy report and following CT scan.  Anal cancer, especially in early stage, has a very high rate of successful treatment.  2)  Once you find out what you and your doctors are dealing with, educate yourself about the type of cancer you have and ask questions of them as to how many cases of this type of cancer they have treated.  3)  Take someone with you to your appointments to take notes as you speak with your doctor(s).

    If you want to learn more about anal cancer, here are three websites for you to visit:

    I wish you all the very best as you sort all of this out.  I hope you will feel better after you meet with your colorectal surgeon and get a full explanation of what was found and what type of treatment is recommended.  We are all here to support you, so please let us know what you find out.  Keep your head up--you will get through this!