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Has anyone else had this problem?

Posts: 13
Joined: May 2013

Hi, I'm curious to know if anyone on this discussion board has dealt with what I am dealing with now.  I finished chemo/radiation therapy in December of last year.  I was given a clean bill of health this year, with one proviso.  My oncologist for chemo told me that in order to be absolutely certain that there was no cancer remaining I would have to visit my proctologist for a digital exam.

   The day of my appointment I have to admit I had some anxiety, mainly due to the fact that I was either going to be told I was cancer free, or there was cancer remaining.  I was not able to allow my proctologist to finish the exam because it was just too painful.  I know the anus can develop a kind of stynosis, similar to the vagina in women.   He told me that in order to finish the exam I would have to be put under anesthesia, to which I agreed.

  Since I had the first, albeit aborted digital exam I have developed an awful pain in my anus.  My anus, even more so after the exam under anesthesia, feels like when you hit your thumb with a hammer, especially when standing for more than a few minutes, which makes me just want to stay in bed all day.

   If anyone on this board is familiar with what I'm speaking of I would appreciate any input.  Even though, as a result of the exams I've been told without question I am cancer free I don't feel like it. The pain I'm experiencing is as bad as it was during treatment.  I'm frustrated and depressed, and wonder if I really am cancer free.  I'm sure anyone who has been treated for anal cancer knows how awful that feeling is......

   Once again I thank anyone ahead of time who can shed some light on this most unfortunate of circumstances......Mitch

AZANNIE's picture
Posts: 443
Joined: Mar 2011

I'm almost two years post treatment. I had an exam under anesthesia two months after completing treatment. If I remember correctly it took about a week for anus to feel better. I've had exams since then and they're still uncomfortable and takes awhile for discomfort to go away. Radiation - the gift that keeps on giving... hope you feel better soon.


Posts: 13
Joined: May 2013

Ann, thanks for posting a reply to my post.  It has been a month since the exam under anesthesia, and the pain is as bad, if not worse then it was a month ago.  I called to make a follow up appointment with my proctologist, and was told he was no longer contracting with my insurance carrier, which I find hard to believe considering it's one of the biggest carriers in California.  The pain has really done a number on my psyche.  Thanks again for sharing your experiences with me........Mitch

mp327's picture
Posts: 4147
Joined: Jan 2010

Fissures can be common in the anal area, especially after the treatment.  A fissure is just what it sounds like--a crack in the skin that does not heal.  It's possible that this is what is causing your pain, although from your description of the type of pain you're feeling, I'm not sure a fissure would cause that.  It's too bad your doctor is no longer accepting your ins. plan.  It's time to find a new doctor.

Posts: 557
Joined: Dec 2012

Are you sure that the doctor is no longer taking your insurance and isn't just avoiding you becasue he might have dome something wrong?  I'm a skeptic when it comes to anything to do with our medical system and its practitioners.  As for the pain itself, it seems hard to imagine that it's not related to the exam, since you didn't have it prior.  I recently had a flare-up of pain that was similar in nature, if not in magnitude to what I had during treatment. It felt like a tear but resolved on its own after 5 days.  For yours, maybe a fresh set of eyes isn't such a bad idea, whether the original dr does or doesn't take your insurance.

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Mitch, i am sorry that you are feeling such pain. I agree with others who have posted that it iis time to find a new doctor. First of all, my oncologist and radiation doctor do digital rectal exams every 3 months. I am not sure why they sent you to another doctor? Also, my surgeon does a scope, without anesthesia every 6 months, i experience some minor pain and bleeding after the exams because the skin in delicate now. I am 2 years out.

I would suggest that you call your oncologist and see what the surveillance plan is? I am not sure whether you were treated at a hospital, but ususally there is a team and a plan for monitoring. Seems a bit strange that they sent you to an outside doctor.

I do understand the post treatment depresssion. It doesn't help you, but it is very common. I highly suggest that you find a support group. There is the
Start Strong Program, which you may find helpful or you can do a search in your location for another group. I go to a general support group for women cancer survivors. I do find it helpful. I can still slip into a bad state of mind when I am not feeling well.

I think the first thing you should do is put in a call to your treating doctor to investigate the pain. It is hard to move on when you are still in pain. Maybe there is someone who can make the calls for you? It helps to have at least one person looking out for you. For me, it was my sister.

Hang in there!

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Double post

Posts: 17
Joined: Oct 2012

I am insured with Kaiser.  The standard follow up I have been told is - after treatment: every 3 mos for 2 years visit with GI Surgeon for visual scope view to look at tissue + visit with oncologist ...then every 6 mos for another 3 years.  I see the radiologist per his request as he is following the nerve damage due to radiation that still has him stumped.  So...scans of any kind are not protocal per the GI Surgeon + he stated if my tissue continues to appear normal there will be no colonoscopy for 10 years!

Ok to address your pain...I have had bleeding and discomfort after the physical exam (not a digit exam but a scope with a light).  However, the 2 exam was not as uncomfortable as those prior to surgery and I did my best to breath, find a focus point, and relax...kind of like during childbirth.

Well, that's my input for what its worth.  I wish you well in finding a doctor that will explain the what and why to your satisfaction.  You deserve nothing short of that. 

I am actually considering dropping all the doctor visits other than the GI Surgen and my Internist.  Seems like enough medical attention at this stage to me.  I would have continued with the neurologist but he pushed me off onto the internist.  Ah...it can all be a bit difficult to understand at times.


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