Anal Cancer Overview

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What are some questions I can ask my doctor about anal cancer?

As you cope with cancer and its treatment, you need to have honest, open talks with your doctor. You should feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Be sure to add your own questions as you think of them.

  • Will you please write down the type of anal cancer I have?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond where it started?
  • What is the stage of my cancer, and what does that mean?
  • Do I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see other doctors?
  • How often have you treated this type of cancer?
  • Should I get a second opinion? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What treatment do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment?
  • What are the chances my cancer can be cured with these options?
  • What risks or side effects can I expect? How long are they likely to last?
  • Will I need a colostomy?
  • How soon after treatment can I return to my normal activities, such as work, school, exercise, or sex?
  • How soon do I need to start treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • How soon after treatment starts will we know if it’s working?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

Keep in mind that doctors are not the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. For more about speaking with your health care team, see our document Talking With Your Doctor.


Last Medical Review: 06/10/2014
Last Revised: 06/26/2014