Anal cancer

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


Posted by

Sometimes I start down a particularly unhelpful track of thinking about what I may or may not have done that brought this cancer on myself.

Do you feel the same sometimes? What do you do about it?


Posted by

I think about this all the time Trish. 

Have I not eaten healthy enough, have I not exercised enough?  Ive never done anything  dodgy in that vicinity. Did I drink too much in my clubbing years? I even have thoughts over perhaps its the cleaning products I've used in my house? All ridiculous thoughts I know when my rational head is back on.

For me, the only experience I've had of other people with cancer has been older people with lung cancer that smoked all their lives, so wrongly I've always felt that there are reasons. I now know this not to be true.

I don't have an answer as to how we get our heads round this guilt - hopefully someone else will be able to share some wisdom. Just wanted to let you know I too have these thoughts.

Deb x 

Posted by

Thanks Deb you listed pretty much everything that I’ve been thinking. Yes, is good to know it’s not just me. It’s easy to see when someone else says it: obviously I don’t think it’s your fault you have cancer. I don’t suppose anyone thinks it’s my fault that I do.  I just need to explain that to my brain.



Posted by


We’ve all been there and had the thoughts. It’s human nature to want to find the reason behind something. However, the reality is that we’ll never know why we got this cancer. 

When I was first diagnosed I thought about this a lot and found myself going back over my life looking for reasons. Was it because I drank and smoke too much, too much sugar, was it due to having a rare blood type or the episiotomy I had when I gave birth to my son? 

Some cancers, like bowel, can be affected by lifestyle however, sarcoma tumours grow in the tissues usually as a result of the immune system being compromised. I taught in a primary school for 5 years and was regularly catching bugs off the kids. I often wonder if that’s maybe when my immune system was compromised and it all started.

Theres also the HPV link as a high percentage of AC are HPV driven. This is something I’ve been researching a lot recently I suppose in order to find an answer. It also drags up all sorts of other thoughts and questions! My oncologist tells me the only way of knowing if my cancer was HPV driven, would be to test the tumour tissue they removed. However, even if I were to do this and find out I was HPV positive would it help, achieve or change anything? probably not. 

We have to look forward rather than back, not torture ourselves thinking about what we may have done to cause it. It’s just bad luck pure and simple.  All we can do going forward is ensure a healthy lifestyle in order maintain a strong immune system. Just as we all should be doing anyway. 

I’m 13 months post treatment and occasionally have guilt thoughts but I just have to remind myself that I’ll never know and put it down to bad luck. 

Turn these thoughts into positives and when you feel able, start exercising, take up a new hobby or cut something out of your diet. Make some positive changes for your future self. 

Hope this helps. 


Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or contact them by email.
Chatty cathy
Posted by

Such great advice.

i felt dirty and ashamed when I was diagnosed.  Through this forum I quickly realised that was a waste of time using negative energy on these thoughts.  I’m 2 years post treatment and doing great.  Life is good again!  Keep smiling! Xx

Posted by

Hey Trish

I know exactly where you're coming from.

My parents allowed me and my siblings to drink from a fairly early age.

Both parents smoked, as do my sister and one of my brothers. I smoked for 37 years from the age of 14 until I stopped "cold turkey" on the day I had a heart attack.

My heart operation included a triple bypass, which is some evidence of the rubbish I was eating.

My Mom's side of the family carries the BRCA2 gene mutation, Mom having two radical mastectomies about 10 years apart.

But if I could go back and change my eating/drinking habits, never start smoking, somehow manage to eradicate the BRCA2 gene mutation ...

Something else would pop up, and I'd STILL have got cancer. Maybe not now and maybe not where it is, but you'll see on this site that they now reckon one in two ... 50% ... or half ... of all people will contract cancer.

Like says, it was just bad luck.

Leave any reasons in the past where they are, and where they belong.

Concentrate on the here and now ... and on the future ... and on getting rid of those cells that are running amok in your body!

Oh, I wish I were a glow worm,
for a glow worm's never glum,
'cause how can you be grumpy
when the sun shines out your bum