Anal Cancer: Newly Diagnosed
Being told you have anal cancer can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
Coping with fear
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and treatment options can make you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
Working with your healthcare team
Your healthcare team will likely include:
Oncologist. This is a healthcare provider who specializes in treating cancer.
Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines.
Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
Proctologist. This is a doctor who uses surgery to treat diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus.
Oncology nurse. This is a nurse who specializes in caring for people with cancer.
The team will answer all your questions. They’ll also guide you through each of the steps that you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests are being done and what the results mean. They’ll help you in making treatment decisions. They’ll also help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
Learning about treatment options
Your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer to decide the best course of treatment for you. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than one healthcare provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion. This can help you choose a treatment.
A second opinion may help you feel comfortable with your plan. In fact, some insurance companies require a second opinion. It’s very rare that the time it will take to get a second opinion will have a negative impact on your treatment. The peace of mind a second opinion provides may be well worth the effort.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also visit support groups to talk with other people coping with cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local support groups.
March 21, 2017
Gersten, Todd, MD,Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS