Anal cancer

Affected by anal cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to people who understand what you're going through.

Bad News

Posted by

Just been for my scan and been told to day at the results meeting that my cancer has returned and is now terminal.

Have very little info at the moment apart from i have been told there is a plan using chemo to extend life etc. 

Dont know how  i feel - i'm struck numb by the news. 

Is anyone else in this situation ?





Posted by

Hello. I am new here and not sure what advice I can give you. I am not suffering myself, but my mother has lung cancer and is starting chemo next week.


I am sorry about the news. I hope this post has helped in any way at all. Feel free to chat to me if needed.

Little My
Posted by
Hi Mrwt So sorry to hear that. MiniG in this group had the same news as you and will post a reply too I am sure. It will take you some time to get your head round it and also when you get details that will help too. Did they say where it had spread to? Some areas although it can't be cured, it can be controlled and you can live a good long time. My mother had in curable cancer for 12 years! I don't think you will take in a lot right now whilst you are in the shock of it but you know we are all here for you and there is the in curable cancer group too where you can discuss with others in The same boat as you. Do phone the advice line too if you want to talk it through with someone. Let us know what they say and huge positive vibes to you for many years to come Little My ps sorry about no paragraphs and weird spellings I'm on my phone x
Posted by

Hello and thank you for sharing your devastating news with the community. I'm a sufferer whom to date has had plain sailing in that I am 15 weeks post treatment for anal cancer. My oncologist (Haylock - Clatterbridge, Merseyside) is pleased with healing and I have MRI on 13 May to check for any spreading. I am also a qualified counsellor and used to speaking with persons losing sight and persons with other problems. Counselling requires me to see things from the other person's side - "walk in their shoes for a while".

I read all your posts and to me it seems so wrong that one person can seemingly sail through this disease while you have just had easily the worst experiences that I have read about. I can sense just how numbing the whole process of 6 monthly advice that the cancer is back through to now terminal prognosis. I think anyone would be struck numb.

At the start when I was diagnosed I had a week when all anyone knew was that a tumour was present. The medics did not know the size, type or any prognosis prior to scans and biopsy. They told me this in the presence of a family support officer and my partner. They told me in a semi-religious tone and to be totally honest I thought they were carefully allowing me to realise that this was terminal. I left the hospital that day and spent some time alone in what I would call terminal thought. My main concerns were my youngest children, my partner and my extended family - what if anything to say and how? I quickly determined not to say anything prior to all the tests and results.

I then found my self thinking about what I understood about dying. Really I understood nothing.

I reviewed my years on earth and how I felt about them and was pretty satisfied that I'd caused more good than evil; that I'd helped when I was able to, and that I'd been lucky to travel in my work and to meet some people who became very dear to me.

Wealth is not a meaningful subject for me except that I always thought that capitalism should have maximums based on human given rights. Food, warmth, shelter, procreation, freedom etc should not be based on ownership. Why so many minimums but no maximums?

I'd also been very religious at 16 and met the then Basil Hume (headmaster at Ampleforth Abbey - later the chief Catholic in the UK - Dom Hume). He disappointed me greatly in a one on one discussion about the Biafran famine  and at almost 17 I lost my faith but not my way of being.

I've always held a mantra to try not to rain on anyone's parade and I think that has helped me in not sliding into depression at some of the low points. 

I then read back my notes and realised that I was in a very privileged position (before that time) of not having lost family or friends and never having had any major problems in life.

Trying to wear your shoes seems to throw me back to that discussion with Basil Hume about how babies died weeks after their mothers - still connected to the umbilical. It was from a Guardian newspaper article explaining this phenomenon of the famine. I sought some justification from the religious leader. He gave none except a leap of faith speech. I can say nothing to you Mr WT that offers any meaning to your suffering. I can't offer a religion based answer nor a moral one.

I decided to answer to say that I when I read your posts I was painfully aware of the ways that this cancer disease affects each of us differently with no element of fairness. I would have been ready to die was the summation of my thoughts - all wasted when told 7 days later that it was curable (their words - I "listen to my body" on your advice). That was my way to deal with the possibility - I was ready for it. 

I'm being very careful not to offer advice for I have no experience other that a 7 day blip on which to base advice. If my words offer any support then please find it. I'm saddened by your level of suffering, lifted by the diligence and support of your GP and just want to say that however long you stay alive, hopefully a long time, your words have resonated with me and changed my outlook in dealing with this disease. I am grateful that you cared enough to warn us all that this can get ugly with little or no notice. I am in your debt and can only repay with respect.

I hope you are able to keep us informed. Thank you again. Tony   


Posted by

Hi Mrwt

So sorry to hear of your terminal diagnosis - especially when you have already been through and survived so much treatment, surgical and otherwise. 

I had treatment for anal cancer early last year (finished late Feb 2012) and everything was going fine - then I had a routine CT scan at the beginning of Oct which showed mets in my liver. I was devastated, and it was so hard to take in as I was feeling so well and finally starting to plan for the future again.

I asked for a prognosis and and was told "typically" 6-8 months. I was offered chemo to try & slow things down & a referral was done to a liver surgeon, though my oncologist was pessimistic about the prospect of surgery.

Nearly 6 months later, I am still well apart from chemo side effects, which could be much worse. A scan after 3 cycles of chemo showed I was responding well, & I saw the surgeon in early Feb. The outcome was that he is willing to do surgery if I continue to respond to chemo.  I have now had 6 chemo cycles (just finished no 6!).

When I first got the news about the mets I expected to start feeling ill any day & certainly didn't think I would be as well as I am now nearly 6 mths on. Anything could change at any time of course, but I try and take one day at a time & I have learnt to appreciate life's small pleasures so much. With the way you have come through your cancer experience so far, I'm sure you will find as much positivity as you can somehow. People tell me I'm amazing & so brave, but I don't think I'm anything special, I think it is just the human spirit that is in all of us.

Where has the cancer reappeared?  What chemo have you been offered? I'm guessing it will be 5-FU & cisplation, which seems to be the standard option for secondary anal cancer.  If I can answer any questions about chemo I will.

G x