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Some Interesting Numbers

mp327's picture
Posts: 4383
Joined: Jan 2010

The information below on breast cancer was taken from an article that appeared in the latest AARP Magazine. I realize this pertains to breast cancer, but I think comparing these numbers with those that follow regarding anal cancer highlight the reason(s) that anal cancer is still in the shadows and not getting nearly the attention it should. Numbers seem to be everything.

290,170 Number of U.S. women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012

39,510 Number of U.S. women who will die of breast cancer in 2012

2,900,000 Number of breast cancer survivors in the United States

The information below was taken from the 2013 NCCN Treatment Guidelines for anal cancer. The numbers for anal cancer cases in 2011 (which were the most recent reported) are as follows:

5,820 New cases of anal cancer involving the anus, anal canal, or anorectum in the
United States

2,140 Number of new cases in men

3,680 Number of new cases in women

2.1% Percentage of digestive system cancers that are anal cancer

770 Number of estimated deaths due to anal cancer

1.9 fold The approximate increase of anal cancer cases for men from 1973-1979 to 1994- 2000

1.5 fold The approximate increase of anal cancer cases for women from 1973-1979 to 1994- 2000

It's easy to see why breast cancer gets so much attention, aside from all the "pink" marketing. Over 39,000 deaths from that disease, as compared to 770 for anal cancer. We have a long way to go, folks.

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

I have seen similar numbers. I feel blessed that there is really a cure for anal cancer. I also have another even more rare cancer, which has no known effective chemotherapy at all. So, I am lucky and unlucky at the same darn time. Wth anal cancer, there is just no excuse that the doctors do not diagnose early on. I was told that I had hemmorhoid for years! It was not hidden in my body, it was just plain medical malpractice. What we need to do is raise awareness in doctors!

sephie's picture
Posts: 651
Joined: Apr 2009

my cancer was also obvious... hung part on outside and part on inside. misdiagnosed as hemmy for over year. absolute ignorance on the proctologist's part. i was too embarrassed for a long time to get 2nd opinion ( which was ignorance on my part)... then finally a great colorectal surgeon recognized and did biopsy. yes, we do have a long way to go to get more awareness for anal cancer ..... sephie

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

When I was researching some data for the book I wrote, what I found disturbing was that the federal government allocated $620 million dollars for breast cancer research...

As opposed to $270 million for colorectal cancer research...

My question was an is..."Why is over 2.5 times federal money being earmarked for breast cancer over colorectal cancer?"

And this is federal funding...doesn't even take into consideration the private and corporate sponsorship they take in each year...

Especially given the light, that colorectal cancer is the #2 killer cancer in the United States - and the entire world...something not quite right between 270 vs 620.

Colorectal cancer also claims approximately 39K worth of men and women collectively every year.

I've been meaning to ask you for some time about some of the stats for anal cancer, Martha...but then Joanne passed:(

This is as good a time as any...so, I was going to ask you...

How many folks in the anal community have passed away from the disease that you know? (besides Joanne)

How often does recurrence happen with anal cancer?

How many anal cancer patients metastasize to other organs?

Approximately what percentage of anal cancer patients have survived the disease here?

I know there are several of your members that visit the rectal board...I've gotten to know many of them, including Joanne.

QUIK STORY: When Joanne joined the rectal board, we got to know one another and I used to talk to her quite abit when she started...she told me that my talks helped give her the idea and motivation to work with CSN to establish your forum. I always felt humbled by that and was saddened by her passing.

Anyway, the folks that travel over there, know of the carnage that goes on inside there...we die over there by the bushel...each and every day...all year long...in all kinds of ways...even if we live...much of us dies with the fight from the relentless years dedicated to fighting.

And recurrence is always a shadow hanging over our collective shoulders...watching and waiting for another opportunity.

We rarely just fight the one battle...I've gone 3x myself and very fortunate to be as damaged as I am, but still functional enough to still be making it...and working...the next one could tip the scale the other way in a much different fashion.

Two completely different kinds of cancers...with very different statistical evidence...and much different outcomes...

But as you say, the numbers do dictate where the money goes...

I am glad that the numbers are lower for anal cancer...it means more of you are surviving it:)

And even though you have a long way to go in making your voice heard, let's hope that you never catch up in numbers to the numbers of some of the other cancers.

This is a case where the lower number is truly the best.

Congratulations on completing your marathon...still can't publish my book...no interest for a 3x cancer survivor of 8.5 years...can't make our voice heard either:)

Even Dr. Phil passed on me:)

Wishing all of you over here the very best with your fights and recoveries...and the best of luck as each of you moves forward!

mp327's picture
Posts: 4383
Joined: Jan 2010

The funding for breast cancer research/treatment is obviously driven by marketing, primarily by the "pink" people, I believe. Women have been brainwashed to some extent, some completely forgetting that there are other types of cancers out there. I have always maintained that women who think they cannot live WITHOUT their breasts have never known anyone living WITH a colostomy. To me, there is no comparison. I'm not saying breast cancer isn't terrible, I'm just saying it's not the only cancer affecting women. As for me, I have known through forums and blogs approximately 15 people who have died from anal cancer in the 4 years I have been active on such sites. Those are cases that I can confirm. There are countless others who just dropped off of the websites and I do not know their current status, so that number could be higher.

Below, I am going to quote the information given in the NCCN guidelines for anal cancer treatment which I hope will answer some of your questions.

"The prognosis of anal carciinoma is related to the size of the primary tumor and the presence of lymph node metastases. According to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, between 1999 and 2006, 50% of anal carcinomas were localized at initial diagnosis; these patients had an 80% 5-year survival rate. Approximately 29% of patients had anal carcinoma that had already spread to regional lymph nodes at diagnosis; these patients had a 60% 5-year survival rate. The 12% of patients presenting with distant metastasis demonstrated a 30.5% 5-year survival rate. In a retrospective study of 270 patients treated for anal canal cancer with radiation therapy (RT) between 1980 and 1996, synchronous inguinal node metastasis was observed in 6.4% of patients with tumors staged as T1 or T2, and in 16% of patients with T3 or T4 tumors. In patients with N2-3 disease, survival was related to T-stage rather than nodal involvement with respective 5-year survival rates of 72.7% and 39.9% for patients with T1-T2 and T3-T4 tumors; however, the number of patients involved in this analysis was small."

Dog Girl
Posts: 100
Joined: Sep 2010

Actually according to the CDC website (and 2008 is the latest year posted), Heart Disease is the number one cause of death for all women in the US. (The stats are further broken down by race, age, etc... if you are interested in looking into this further). Cancers of all types is the number two cause of death. I'm sure the "Red" folks (Heart disease) would like some of the attention and money garnered by the "Pink" folks as well.

Let's face it; all diseases and cancers could use more funding, but in a capitalistic society, R&D funding (pvt) is going to go to where there is potentially the largest payoff (highest number of people affected.) And I think the government may direct their resources to the "greatest good" i.e. largest number of people affected. Those of us that have battled (and have hopefully won the long term battle) Anal Cancer may be extremely lucky that we have such a high cure rate on this rare cancer.

Posts: 37
Joined: Oct 2012

not in a million years did i think I would be on a cancer support group--
wow how life takes a turn

TY for posting this information---
I guess i am lucky to have a curable/treatable cancer
but it sure is not very well supported :(

husband asked me the other day
wouldn't it be worse to have breast cancer?
I had to think about it for a minute and said NO
this is worse, cause the radiation does such bad things to our female organs
and our everyday morning "business"
that I would rather lose a breast--
sight unseen is not always the way to go hmmmmmm

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Law,

I am hoping that your treatment goes well and that after you are done, you will change your mind about rather losing a breast. No cancer is desirable at all, but I can say I would much rather have had treatment for this cancer than losing a breast. For me, other than the fatigue, I have no lasting effects. I don't think it is normal to have damage to "female organs". I have not experienced that at all. If you are at a good cancer hosptial, you will minimize your chances of any permanent damage. Hopefully, all will go as well for you!

Your fears are understandable. We have all been there, but don't imagine the worst! Stay positive and know that they caught your cancer early and you should be cured of this in no time!

Hang in there!

Posts: 37
Joined: Oct 2012

Any cancer is bad I was just having a bad moment sorry :(

geneviasue's picture
Posts: 89
Joined: Oct 2012


I'm right here with you..Day 8 today. We have to think positive (which I know you are) but to Mary's point, this cancer is curable if caught early and that applies to both of us. For me, now that treatment has started, I'm living in the moment..just living in today which is much different than I was before I started. Then, I constantly thought of the end result but my moto is now that that isn't today and today I'll deal with X and X only. I'll take what meds I need today and not worry about tomorrow. Me nor you can reach inside our bodies and remove this cancer though I know we wish we could. We have to trust the process and our doctors. We have to face this as hard as it may be. God said he would always provide us sufficient grace to face the things we have to face. I believe that..for me and you.

Praying for you.

Posts: 37
Joined: Oct 2012

You will get through this. and I Love your motto -- I think I will refer to that once my treatment gets started. I am so stressed out right now that I just wish treatment would start.
I did get good news today, I am not even a T1, I am below that
the new radiologist I saw today was awesome and she is going to look into my records more
I had surgery for a Hemi and they say I have clear margins and the entire cancer was removed, they of course want to start treatment ASAP but I can wait a bit to be sure they do the right thing and not rush into it!
((((((GiGi)))))) thoughts and prayers to you XO

mp327's picture
Posts: 4383
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm so glad to read that you're staged at less than a T1! That's very good news. And now that you've found a radiation oncologist who you like very much, it will make everything much easier for you. This is all good news!

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Gigi,

I am so glad that you are doing well. You are in my prayers. Each day you are closer to a cure! I think you have the best attititude. During the course of treatment I saw patients that were so very sick that it broke my heart. Of course there will be delays and rescheduling. In a cancer hospital, they are dealing with life and death situations every day and you just cannot predict when emergencies come up. Of course you would give up your spot for somebody who is very sick, just as they would do for you if you needed emergency treatment.

Glad you still have hair and good for you for laughing! It really is the best medicine!

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