Anal Cancer

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about anal cancer?

As you deal with your cancer and the process of treatment, you need to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. You should feel free to ask any question that's on your mind, no matter how trivial it might seem. Among the questions you might want to ask are:

  • What kind of anal cancer do I have?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond the primary site?
  • What is the stage of my cancer? What does the staging mean in my case?
  • What treatment choices do I have?
  • What treatment would you recommend for me?
  • What side effects can I expect from my treatment?
  • What are the other risks of treatment?
  • How soon after treatment starts will we know if it's working?
  • How long will it take me to recover from treatment?
  • How soon after treatment can I return to my normal activities, such as work, school, exercise, or sex?
  • Will I need to have a colostomy?
  • Based on what you've learned about my cancer, what is my outlook?
  • What are the chances that my cancer will recur?
  • Does one type of treatment reduce the risk of recurrence more than another?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • How long will my treatment, including follow-up, last?

You will no doubt have other questions about your own situation. Be sure and write your questions down so you will remember to ask them during each visit with your cancer care team. Keep in mind, too, that doctors are not the only ones who can provide you with information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers you seek.


Last Medical Review: 01/02/2013
Last Revised: 01/02/2013