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Don_cares's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2010

Hello to you all,

I do not have anal cancer but my wife of 26 years does. I have read through many of the posts on this forum and have already had so many unknowns clarified but I have a couple questions:

I have two questions for the group: 1. Is asking about the stage important? 2.Nobody has ever said a word about HPV or any other possible cause - should we ask if she tested positive and would that mean other treatments?

She completed round 1 Chemo last week and is day 8 of her radiation. Tumor showed zero spread anyplace else and they told us it is about the size of an eraser on a pencil. Thanks, Don

mp327's picture
Posts: 4149
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm sorry to hear about your wife, but it sounds like her cancer was caught early. If it's the size of a pencil eraser and has not spread anywhere else, then I would say it's most likely Stage 1 cancer. But yes, you should ask her doctor for clarification on this. As for the HPV, my biopsy specimen was not tested for HPV, but I have since learned that I have HPV. Most anal cancers are HPV related. However, this will not make a difference as far as her treatment goes. Also, there is no treatment for HPV. It's a virus that can remain dormant for many years with no symptoms, then start causing problems. This is most likely why anal cancer is most often diagnosed in people in their late 40's, 50's and beyond.

I wish her all the best and hope that you will come here often for support and any advice that you might need on her behalf. The people on this forum will give you all the info they can--just ask!

z's picture
Posts: 1411
Joined: May 2009

Hi Don,

Welcome, sorry you had to find us. My tumor was dx with HPV. The thing about HPV is that it lies dormant, and then it will become active and cause cell changes which lead to cancer. I know my immune system was not good for the 2 years prior to my dx as I did'nt eat right, I was a 35 year smoker and I didn't exercise. Well I was dx with Stage IINOMO anal verge cancer on 4-23-09, and completed tx on 6-30-09. So far so good.

The stage is important to know as is if the tumor is well, moderately, or poorly differentiated. This classifys how much of the tumor is cancer compared to normal cell tissue. Well differentiated means that theres a clear difference in the cells, and that would be the best dx to have.

I hope your wife will join us if shes able, as theres alot of good information on this discussion board.

I wish you and your family well. Lori

lizdeli's picture
Posts: 567
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Don
Glad you reached out. I know that a cancer diagonosis is very difficult on the person as well as their loved ones and caregivers. It will be a little tough at times as she goes through treatment, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that the cancer is not any place else is great news and the tumor being the size of pencil eraser means it's a small tumor another great sign. Of course I'm not a doctor and I don't know all the details but so far from what you've written it sounds like encouraging news for your wife. I can't imagine that based on the size and no spread that the stage would be much higher than a I or II at the most. But the doctors will tell you that of course. My tumor was about 2cm (inch or so) and I did have spread to a lymph node so I was staged at III.

Wishing you and your wife strength and healing.


Don_cares's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2010

Who knew a little thing the siza of an eraser head could change our lives - especially my wifes lifes so dramatically? For some reason we never thought to ask why or what caused this. We/she just got on this conveyer belt of appointments, tests, etc. and the next thing we knew she had a port in her chest and was sleeping with a pump that whispered to her all night. MP, I have read you are two years removed from diagnosis and treatment and it shows something about you that you stop her often to share with those more recently diagnosed. Thank you. I am encouraging my wife to sign in and read. I am more the web guy, the organizer, but I think she will do it and be stronger for it.

mp327's picture
Posts: 4149
Joined: Jan 2010

Yes, please have your wife join in when she feels comfortable with it! We are here to help her. I went through my treatment without the benefit of a support forum and it was rough. I stay in here and on a couple other forums because I don't ever want anyone to go through this alone. There are so many good people here who will give y'all good advice and support. Thank you for your kind comments. I will keep your wife and you in my thoughts and prayers.

Posts: 30
Joined: Mar 2010


It's really a whirlwind in the beginning and things are happening so fast you don't know if you're coming or going. The good thing about the treatment for this type of cancer is that it's short relative to something like breast cancer which seems to drag on forever. It IS intensive, however, and you wife is likely to have problems near the end of treatment. This blog will be instrumental to help you both through the recovery. I got so much more information from this blog than from all my doctors combined! It sounds like the tumor was found really early so her chances of survival are very very high. I'm four months finished with treatment and I feel wonderful now - really close to normal. The road was rough, however, as I'm sure you'll discover reading the other posts. Hang in there! She's gonna be fine. She's lucky to have such a supportive and caring husband.


nonichol's picture
Posts: 170
Joined: Jul 2010

sorry you have to be here, but glad you found us. Hopefully your wife will vist as this forum was so helpful for me.

Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2010

Hey Don, I am glad you stumbled onto this site. I did, early on in treatment, and it has helped me so much. I have lived in my community for almost 11 years, but when I work, I'm lucky to be home 90 days a years...not all at the same time. So finding CSN was a Godsend. And it's also nice to hear from a caregiver. It took my husband about a month to really understand what I'm going thru, and that was only after actually seeing my bottom (cuz sex is out just now, lol). I do hope your wife will join us. I just finished radiation treatments yesterday, and I look in here to find out what to expect next as far as the healing process goes. And no matter what my question is, there's always someone with advice, a similar story or just encouraging words. You two will get thru this. Hopefully she's not as stubborn as I am...for awhile I didn't want help. I felt sorry enough for myself, I didn't need anyone else to. Yea!!Tell her to accept whatever help is offered to her. She will get very tired. Tell her to listen to her body. When it's time to rest, it will let her know. You are both in my prayers and thoughts. Hang tough!! Melodie

Posts: 300
Joined: May 2010

Hello Don - sorry that you have to be here but by the sounds of it, the cancer was found early and that is a plus. I am two weeks out from treatment and while grueling, I'm feeling better every day. You sound like a very caring and loving husband and she will need that over the coming weeks as therapy progresses. Come in here for support and when your wife is up to it, have her come in as well. This site helped me through my treatment program and I am thankful for it. My cancer was caught later due to misdiagnosis and the belief that a colonoscopy two years prior that showed nothing but a small polyp meant that my issues were hemmi's. A year and one surgery later, it was found I had anal canal cancer and staged at T3N1M0 (which meant it did spread to my nodes). I was also diagnosed with the HPV virus. With that said, I'm glad that your wife's was caught early and is relatively small. This is a blessing. Marilyne

pjjenkins's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2009

I am just catching up on our discussion board after more than 10 days away. I, too, am sorry you and your wife are experiencing this lousy disease. There is nothing better for getting through than a caring spouse!!

I echo the replies above: This site is more info-rich than all the care team I had 2 3/4 years ago when I started my cancer journey. We are a great support group. Check back often for helpful tips and encouragement. I do wish it existed as I went through my treatment period!

I was not staged before my treatment and it caused me additional anxiety. I felt the docs had not been thorough enough. That said, it has not made any difference to my outcome - NED or No Evidence of Disease in all my follow-up exams to date. And I was told my case was probably due to HPV.

The next few weeks will both drag and zip by.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wife.


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