I'm hoping some of you who have anal cancer can answer my question. My cousin has been battling anal cancer for 3 years now, and unfortunately, she's at the end of her fight. She is now in hospice and it's only a matter of time. Even though this question comes too late for her, can any of you help me understand some reasons why it would be inoperable? Is it a location issue? It was my understanding she was told her tumor could not be surgically removed. But I later found out it's possible she may have made the choice herself to opt for chemo and radiation rather than surgery.
I am an ovarian cancer patient, and am very careful to screen yearly for colon/anal cancer with a colonoscopy. I'm not sure of the familial relationship ovarian and anal cancers may have, but is there something else I should be doing to screen?
Sorry to hear about your cousin. I have not been in this forum for awhile as no one with this fairly rare cancer was a part of community.
You can look at my archived posts which pretty much cover everything I know and experienced.
My treatment for anal cancer in 2007, included aggressive chemo and radiation therapy for six weeks. I almost died of the side effects of chemo (renal failure and Cdif), but am doing very well now. My cancer was not caught in a routine colonoscopy, so I was at stage IIIb when treated.
Anal cancer is caused by the HPV virus: it is actually a skin cancer: think it was called squamous cell carcinoma. The HPV virus is implicated in ovarian cancer, so yes there is a link. You probably know there is a vaccine. A mute point when you have already had the cancer.
Oncologists will usually try the combination of chemo and radiation before suggesting surgery, which results in an ostomy bag. There are variables, so I don't want to generalize, just give you a few facts here.
Your cousin may have opted out of surgery if she didn't want the bag, or her cancer may have spread to a point where it was not an option. I suspect she chose to take her chances with chemo and radiation. Altho' many people live well with the bag, others do not. A quality of life issue.
As to annual screening: once you have had anal cancer, and doctors know what to look for, it is a combination of office examinations, biopsy of anal tissue, and CT-scans.
Not sure if followups for return of ovarian cancer have similar protocol.
Hi. My wife had the same thing. We have three children and she is only 43 this year but chemo/radio didn't work. It seemed to put the cancer in some kind of dormant state for five years but then it became active again. She had her rectum completely removed and a part of her colon to be given a colostomy. It isn't the nicest thing in the world, but together we have learned how to deal with it and have it nailed now. During surgery they removed lymph nodes in the area to slice up and examine. Apparently they said this is a good indicator if it has spread. Surgery was last august, so early days yet but she has put on weight for the first time in 5 years.
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