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Anal/rectal & bowel spasms/cramps in anal cancer

Colorectal Cancer | Last Active: Apr 15, 2023 | Replies (18)

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I went through the exact same thing last summer. My anal cancer was caused by HPV and was a squamous cell carcinoma. My tumor had grown to 7 cm by the time they started treatment. Since last summer, I've lost 46 pounds. Before treatment, I had to limit what I ate because I knew that what went in--must come out and it was so painful. During and after treatment, food tasted horrible and I couldn't eat much. I went through lots of Jello and yogurt.

Both of my oncologists at UC Davis told me they expected my treatment plan to completely kill the tumor. After one week of chemoradiation, I could feel that the tumor had shrunk, and most of the pain went away. My chemo consisted of fluorouracil-5 and mitomycin. I had 2 rounds of chemo and 30 external beam radiation treatments. At my last PET/CT scan 2 months after finishing my treatments, the tumor was MUCH smaller, and will continue to shrink over the next few months. They will be doing regular imaging to check my progress.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it--the treatments are brutal, especially towards the end. I've had recurrent bouts of diverticulitis requiring 2 antibiotics (Flagyl and Cipro) which really make me feel like crap. Also, I've needed two blood transfusions as my blood counts got very low--but I think that's to be expected. It's a long process, but I have every expectation of a complete cure, so that makes it worth it.

You can do this!

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Replies to "I went through the exact same thing last summer. My anal cancer was caused by HPV..."

Thanks for sharing with us,this gives me hope my brother has just been diagnosed with rectal cancer 3 weeks back and has not yet started treatment and he is in so much pain I won't lie but reading your comment gave me hope and strength.

Thank you for sharing all this with me. It’s been a rough few months. I am having my first scan after treatment on March 6th. I will get the results on the 8th. It’s been very stressful having to wait these few months. I had Mitomycin and Xeloda plus the radiation for 6 weeks. Mitomycin only once at the beginning of treatment. I had radiation enteritis for 2 months and now I have fecal incontinence. I’m hoping that too will go away soon. Otherwise, I feel better than I have in a year. I hope this is a good sign. I am so nervous about getting the results. Not knowing what’s ahead for me.

It’s reassuring to hear that someone else knows what I’m going through. Your journey is so familiar. I had one dose of Mitomycin on my first day of treatment. I took Xeloda in pill form 5 pills 2X a day eight hours apart. At the same time, I had radiation. Treatment lasted for 6 weeks. My tumor was about 3 inches in diameter. Treatment has reduced it to about 1 inch. I have had radiation enteritis and now fecal incontinence. I’ve recently had 2 colonoscopies 2 weeks apart. The first doctor could not get in due to anal stenosis. The second doctor was more experienced and used pediatric sized equipment and got in. The radiation has done so much damage. The incontinence is permanent and something I’ll have to live with. I tolerated the chemo very well. It’s a constant waiting game. Hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through all this. Thank you for sharing this. It helps to know I’m not alone.