Ask a nurse

Do you have a question about cancer? Our Digital Nurse Ellen or one of our specialist nurses will aim to respond within 2 working days.

Back ache

just 1
Posted by

 Just been diagnosed with anal cancer waiting to have a CT scan tomorrow I have a really bad backache left-hand lower back really sore what is it  i’m worried the cancer has spread to my my liver and my overthink it .

thank you 


Lorraine - Macmillan

Hi just1,

Thanks for getting in touch and welcome to the online community.

It’s natural to be worried when you have just been diagnosed and have pain. As nurses we can’t diagnose where the pain is coming from.

We would advise calling NHS111 today if you are finding the pain is increasing or you are more uncomfortable. Otherwise, if you have the pain under control with painkillers then give your hospital team a call tomorrow and let them know.

Waiting for test results can leave you feeling in limbo with lots of mixed emotions. It’s common to fear that the anal cancer is spreading. As once you know the cancer is there then it’s human nature to want treatment started quickly.

Once your team have all your test results then the multidisciplinary team will plan the best treatment for you.

Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone. If you want to speak to one of the nurses then just give us a call on the Macmillan Support Line.


Best wishes and take care

Lorraine-Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist

just 1
Posted by

 Hi Lorraine ,

I have heard of the treatment called Papilion I am at present at Saint Marks hospital in Harrow that does not have this machine .How would I get recommended for that treatment at another hospital .

kind regards


Josie - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi Justine,

Thank you for getting in touch with us again. It’s common when you’ve had a diagnosis of cancer to look up what are the best possible treatments for you.

As you are still waiting for a CT scan medical staff can’t give you a treatment plan yet.

What normally happens is the medical team meet this is called multidisciplinary team. (MDT). They will decide on the best possible treatment for your cancer type.

 They normally use the NICE guidelines. These are evidence based recommendations for health and care in England.

You can certainly speak to your team, who will be able to tell you whether this treatment could be an option for you.

On our online community we have an ask an anal cancer expert. Who can answer any questions on your cancer. You might find this useful.

Sometimes, it can help to talk to one of our nurses on our Support Line about what is happening. If you think that would be helpful to do you can call us on 0808-808-0000. Our lines are open Monday to Friday 8am till 8pm.

I hope this is helpful. Please do get back in touch if we can be of any more help.

Best wishes


Macmillan Information Nurse Specialist.