My wife has just been diagnosed

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This afternoon we had it confirmed that my wife has squamous cell carcinoma (anal cancer)

As much as we were expecting the diagnosis its still a bit of a shock.

Treatment is likely to start in 2-3  weeks...not sure why theres such a wait....we just want it sorting as fast as possible.

Anyway...just wanted to introduce myself and hopefully find out more about this disgnosis and what i can do to support my wife.



  • Hi  ,

    Firstly welcome to the Macmillan online community although I’m really sorry to hear of your wife’s diagnosis.

    I completely understand that feeling of shock, I remember feeling completely numb! 

    I’m not sure what tests etc., that your wife has already had done but I’ll  try & explain from the beginning. 

    In most cases especially here in the UK the timeline things tend to take is as follows… following a definite diagnosis you have an MRI & CT scan, sometimes a PET scan too, the results then go forward to an MDT (multi-disciplinary team) meeting, this meeting consists of a colorectal surgeon, oncologist, radiologist etc., who will discuss the findings of the scans, agree on a staging of the cancer & decide on the best course of treatment. Once the findings & decisions from this meeting have been put to your wife (usually by her oncologist) then if chemoradiotherapy is the way forward then there’ll be treatment planning scans organised which will give the physicists the measurements needed to precisely plan your wife’s radiotherapy. The same day as my planning scans I also had 3 tiny dot tattoos placed, one on either hip & one on my pubic bone, these help the radiologists line you up on the machine precisely each time you have treatment. This all may explain the delay in your wife’s treatment starting. 

    Although anal cancer is one of the rarer cancers it is on the whole very treatable obviously depending on staging.

    You ask how best you can support your wife, I would just say be there for her, as simple as that sounds it’s the most important thing you can do. While I was in treatment, especially towards the end, I suffered a lot of fatigue, so having someone to walk my dog, cook a bit of food or do a bit of housework was a godsend, that way I could take a bit of a nap when needed without worrying about things I needed to do. 

    I’ll not overload you with information but please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions at all. 

    Just as a footnote we also have a Family and friends forum here on the online community that’s a group for family members & friends supporting a loved one through their cancer journey. You need to make sure you take care of yourself too, this can be as tough on family as it is for those of us diagnosed & that will enable you in turn to support your wife. 

    We’re here to support you however we can.


  • HI Warrior,

    I"m so sorry that you and your wife are facing this, but happy for her that she has you. I'd had a much harder time with it all without a good husband having my back.

    The interim time will fill up quickly with pre-treatment testing, maybe getting a port installed, getting radiation tattoos and so forth. It's also a good time to stock up on easy meals, long-awaited books and movies or concerts, plenty of blankets and pillows, and supplies like a Sitz bath (or bidet attachment if that's possible) and peri-bottles. 

    Hopefully youir wife's diagnosis is an early one. This is a very beatable cancer when found in the early stages. The treatment is aggressive, and keeps most of us alive and kicking for a good long while on the far side.

    Check back here for support or to ask questions as much as you need to. It's a fantastic resource for getting through this miserable bastard of a cancer.


  • Hello Tw2001

    I am so sorry to hear of your wife's diagnosis, but you have come to the best place when it comes to getting tips and coping strategies for people who have been through the treatment, many of whom have stayed around to help others on what can be quite a difficult path.

    The waiting is unbearable, I know.  Just comfort yourselves that during this time all the relevant information is being gathered to give the best possible treatment plan for your wife.  She will feel a lot more in control once things start moving and it's good that you are looking for ways to be supportive.  Certainly in the latter days of treatment (if she has the standard chemo/radiotherapy) she will be in fair bit of pain and probably extremely fatigued as well, so being there to take care of her during this time will be a huge help to her.

    I hope the next couple of weeks pass really quickly, I will be thinking of her (and you).

    Irene xx

  • We have had all the scans and biopsy.

    Met with colorectal surgeon but not the oncologist yet.

    She is in a lot of pain as the tumour is 4cm and ulcerated. But its localised with some swelling in nearby lymphnodes. No sign of spreading.

    Thanks for all the kind words and support so far.