Dena's Journey with Anal Cancer

Survivor: Anal Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 6 years ago, Female, Age: 64, Stage II

  1. 1
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Other

    Procedure or Surgery

    Because of some bleeding my primary care doctor had me go to a specialist to have a colonoscopy done. They found a tumor in my anal canal.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  2. 2
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    This was the best thing that I did. I was able to get my Chemo drugs through the port and I also was able to get hydrated and received some of my drugs through the port. Since we had to have blood drawn on a weekly basis during treatment, I could have my blood draws done through the port also. It was a snap to use and painless. Just felt a little pressure when they first insert the needle. I had to go into the hospital as Outpatient to have it inserted. To have it remove my doctor had a small surgery center in his office and he remove it in 5 mins.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    1 Comment
  3. 3
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Chemotherapy and radiation combined

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Chemo - since they found my cancer early they were pretty agressive on the treatment. I was on a portable pack getting chemo drugs for approx 98 hours. I did this at the start and then about half way through. The 1st time was tough, but with the new drugs they have now, I was able to keep from throwing up most of the time. The second time was harder, but I knew the end was in site. It kind of freaked me out when I had to take a spill kit home in case the drugs leaked out of the pak. Radiation - this seemed almost easier, but in the long run what I am still healing from. I had 30 treatments which I did 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Because of an infection that I got and also because I became neutropinc I had to take a break for 2 weeks before I could do my last 8 treatments. I was in and out of the office in 15 minutes tops. The actual treatment was easy and painless. The damage to the skin was the biggest problem. They can treatment is with creams as you go through treatments, but the one that would help the most had sulfa in it and I am allergic to sulfa (at least we thought so). I had my last treatment in December and the skin is finally starting to look normal. I am not in pain and have not been for several months, but the color and texture takes a while to return to a more normal condition.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    1 Comment
  4. 4
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Diarrhea

    Side Effects

    This was the worst part of the treatments I think. It was so hard for a few months to plan anything unless it was close to a bathroom. During treatments was the worst. There were a few times that I did not make it to the bathroom. This has gotten a lot better. Things are not back to normal but we are getting there.

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  5. 5
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Urinary changes (frequency, urgency)

    Side Effects

    Caused by drugs and treatments. Just bad during that time.

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  6. 6
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    I was always tired and was not able to do alot during the treatments. My doctor suggested that I take a leave from work. I am glad that I did because I tired so easily and simple chores just seemed beyond what I could do.

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  7. 7
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    Totally lost all of my hair. It started to come out in handfuls when I started Chemo and I had decided ahead of time that when that happened to just cut it all off. Before I started the treatments I have long hair that was down to the middle of my back. When it started to grow back, it was curly. I love it. My hair has always been straight as an arrow. I now have short curly hair and it is cute.

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  8. 8
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Infection

    Side Effects

    Because I am allergic to sulfa they could not treat the area where I got the radiation treatments with a sulfa cream and I had to treat with sit baths. I am not sure if that was the reason or not, but I got a urinary infection and ended up in the hospital. I was running a high fever and ended up neutropinc. I was in the hospital for 4 days in isolation. It ended up being a godsend because they tried the sulfa to see what kind of reaction I would have while I was in the hospital and found that I could use it and it started to heal the skin faster.

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  9. 9
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Mouth sores

    Side Effects

    The best thing to treat mouth sores is called Magic Mouthwash. Walgreens Pharmacy has it, but your doctor need to order it for you. Use Biotene products. They are not inexpensive, but they help.

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  10. 10
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Taste change/loss

    Side Effects

    Food was a problem during treatments. Alot of things did not taste good and food just had no appeal. Fortunately that will pass.

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  11. 11
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    I finished treatments on December 14, 2011. My test results have come back showing no cancer. I have to continue getting tests for a while, but once every 3 months is so much better then going into the doctors office every day. I have to have my Colon checked alot more often and regular Pap because I am predisposed to Cervical Cancer. But I can say that I have been blessed by God and I am cancer free right now and hopefully forever, but if not, I know I can handle it. Praise God.

    0 Comments
  12. 12
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Hair is back

    Celebration

    I now have thick curly hair and I love it.

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  13. 13
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    NONE

    Loss

    I have been blessed. I made it through treatments with a positive attitude.

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  14. 14
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Other

    Decision Point

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    0 Comments
  15. 15
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Other Care

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    0 Comments
  16. 16
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Other

    Other Care

    My Onocologist and her staff were the best. They made the process of treatments and my care so much easier. Make sure that you have a caring doctor who cares about you and goes out of their way to see you and to find solutions to keep your treatments as painless as possible. They were alway pro-active in regards to making sure that I was hydrated. And the goal was to keep me out of the hospital and we almost made it.

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  17. 17
    • Dena
    • Experience with Anal Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Dena's Avatar

    Low white blood cell counts (neutropenia)

    Side Effects

    This was why they put in in the hopital for 4 days in isolation.

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