New to the group, just wanted to say hi

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I was diagnosed a few weeks ago with anal cancer, I start my treatment on 17th July. Getting more anxious as the date draws closer, but I suppose everyone felt like this.

having a PICC fitted, so have been looking at covers, got mad spaniels so I think it’s best to keep my line covered. Also been looking at what I can use to cover my line when I have a shower. There’s so much out there can anyone recommend anything.


  • Hello Jet

    Welcome to the forum although I am sorry you found the need to join us.  I well understand the anxiety as treatment draws nearer, although it can be quite tough towards the end it is mercifully quite short and many of us found it useful to mark off the days as treatment progressed, a day further away from the diagnosis of cancer.

    There are some variations in how hospital protocol in administering chemo, I had daily tablets, so I'm sorry I can't help on managing with a PICC line but others on here have and have some advice.  If I had to narrow recommendations down to three items, it would be a Sitz bath which fits over the toilet bowl, can be used for bathing once radiotherapy is underway and things are a bit tender and can be used to empty your bowels and urinate under water - much less painful; a cushion to sit on going to and from hospital in the last few days and very loose cotton underwear.  I am sure you will have plenty more suggestions, everyone on here have been through and or are going through the same treatment and we all found ways of coping.

    I couldn't have done without the companionship on here, so please remember we are always here to help if we can or if you just need to have a rant!

    Irene xx

  • Thank you for the advice.  

  • Hi Jet welcome to the group we would rather have not had the need to join. You will definitely feel anxious at this time but I am really glad you found us as it gives hope and lots of us get through the treatment and share what they found helped with any side effects you may experience. It was a very daunting time for me as I was diagnosed just before Xmas the year last and was literally planning my funeral! We discuss anything here, nothing is out of bounds regarding our bodily fluids. Good advice regarding the sitz bath and I found it a godsend during and post treatment. My husband also fitted an extra long hose on our shower head with a bidet spray attached which reaches my toilet for quick spraying. It wasn’t expensive at all to do. You will be given creams when you start to get sore from the radiotherapy depending on what hospital you’re attending. My hospital were to begin with a bit frugal when it came to get anything but they did improve when I started to really ask for it. I did buy a online gel called StrataXRT and used from the start of my treatment which is a gel applied very thinly around the area which does NOT have to be removed while you are under the radiation rays. This is bought online and is expensive but a 50ml tube lasted me pretty much right through and a week post treatment. This kept my external skin pretty much in good condition. You can get information on this on their website. I wore soft cotton shorts style knickers a size too big and bought some nice harem trousers. I couldn’t get on with the rings of cushions at all and just ended up sitting on one leg. We all are different and what works for one may not work for you. Start looking at supporters who can help you with shopping or dog walking etc. 

  • Hi Jet

    I wish I'd found this forum before I started treatment, there are so many tips to help get you through. 

    I bought a peri bottle off Amazon which helped when you can't wipe after using toilet. It helped immensely. I also bought period knickers which were handy for the leakages I experienced. I'm still wearing them now as I have slight dribble of wee and some discharge. 

    my treatment finished 27th Feb and sadly have a reoccurring cancer which I'm meeting the surgeon for on 19th. 

    Keep strong and positive as you can. Best wishes to you and Big cwtch. 


  • Hi  ,

    Welcome to the Macmillan online community although I’m really sorry to hear of your diagnosis, you’ve come to the right place for support & advice on anything relating to this particular diagnosis as there’s many of us here that have been through this treatment & are out the other side back living our lives. 

    The way you’re feeling approaching your treatment start date is completely natural, my feelings were a mixture of wanting to get started & get it over with & complete & utter dread of the unknown! The side effects especially regarding the radiotherapy are very gradual  & build as the weeks pass, apart from a touch of radiation cystitis I had hardly any reaction until towards the end of week 3. 

    The chemo side of the treatment regime varies from hospital to hospital, mine was slightly different & I only had a short infusion day 1 of radiotherapy & then it was oral chemo every day of treatment thereafter so I didn’t have a PICC line but there’s a few members here that have had PICC lines & hopefully someone will be along soon to offer some advice.

    I too bought some 100% cotton underwear a size larger than normal & loose harem pants but ended up being able to wear my normal jeans all the way through! I found Epsom salt baths particularly soothing once the skin reaction began & I applied the creams provided by my radiotherapy team & oncologist by the bucketload, never be afraid to ask for more or tell them if something isn’t working for you. I also only washed with aqueous cream during treatment & still do to this day (5yrs post treatment) as anything else causes a bit of irritation. 

    We’re here to support you however we can & you e got a safe place here if you just want a bit of a rant. 


  • Hi Jet,

    Sorry you need to join our merry band, but good for you for finding it before you start treatment. I wish I had!

    While I had my port in use, I just used the handheld and made sure I didn't let the spray near it. Had to wash my hair in the sink. I should have buzzed it off sooner!

    If you have the option to put in a bidet attachment, I highly recommend it. My husband put ours in during the second week of treatment and it was such a blessing. At the very least get a couple of peri-bottles so you always have one ready to go, and a Sitz bath. And Epsom salts. Soft, loose-fitting pants. Round up friends and support to help with meals, rides, dog-walking, stupid jokes, whatever you need to help you through the bad days. 

    Come back here and vent all you need to. We got you.



  • Hello and welcome Jet - sorry you find yourself here. 

    I had the PICC line and the Macmillan shop onsite at the hospital sold special sleeves that fit over your arm with PICC line.  I believe you can also buy them online (around £18) but you need to measure your arm circumference to get the right fit.  Sadly the hospital didn't have my size and I never got around to getting one as I figured that as I was attached to the pump on week 1 & 5 it would make life too complicated trying to shower anyway!  I ended up having a bath with a chair next to the bath to sit the pump on and washed my hair over the bath.  I can certainly remember the relief when that PICC line came out - I hated being attached to a pump!  Its strange really but the things you worry about before it all starts really pale into insignificance once it all starts and then you just focus on the end and getting through it.

    Best of luck!

    Carole x