Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Cancer Care

Fremont and San Leandro Medical Centers

Overview

Anal cancer is rare. It develops in the anal canal and anus. The anal canal is a short tube that connects the end of the large intestine (rectum) to the anus.

Anal cancer is treated with:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • A combination of these treatments 

We will consider the following factors to determine the best treatment:

  • The stage and type of your cancer.
  • Tumor location.
  • If you have HIV or a weakened immune system.
  • If you’ve just been diagnosed, or the cancer has returned.
  • Your age and overall health.

Anal cancer treatment is often effective, especially when the cancer is found at an early stage. We’ll provide you with the best treatment available.

Additional References:

Surgery

Surgery may remove: 

  • Early-stage anal tumors
  • Advanced tumors
  • Tumors that don’t respond to other treatment 

The type of surgery depends on how much tissue must be removed. 

Local resection. We remove the tumor and an area of healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. We may use this type of surgery to treat small tumors that haven’t spread. 

We might not have to remove your sphincter muscles with this type of surgery. These muscles surround the anal canal and control bowel movements. 

Abdominoperineal resection. For cancers that either have not responded to other treatments or have returned, we remove the:

  • Anus
  • Anal sphincter
  • Rectum
  • Lymph nodes in the groin that contain cancer cells  

We then attach your colon to a new opening in the abdomen for stool to leave the body (colostomy).

Surgery Side Effects

Side effects vary, depending on the type of surgery you have. Side effects may include:

  • Wound infections
  • Wound not healing properly
  • Bleeding
  • Hernia in the pelvic floor

We will talk with you about the possible side effects of your operation and how we plan to manage them.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation. It destroys cancer cells or stops them from growing. It’s often given at the same time as chemotherapy.

With external-beam radiation therapy, a machine aims a radiation beam at the tumor. You’ll likely have radiation 5 days a week for several weeks.

Radiation Side Effects

The goal of radiation therapy is to spare healthy tissues. However, side effects may occur, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Skin changes, such as redness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Anal irritation
  • Pain during bowel movements

If you have HIV, radiation therapy can further weaken your immune system. We may recommend a lower dose.

When given at the same time, radiation therapy may worsen the side effects of chemotherapy. But the side effects usually go away soon after treatment ends. Until then, we can help manage side effects. 

Possible long-term side effects include:

  • Impaired bowel function. Radiation to anal tissue may cause scar tissue to form. This can lead to stool leakage (anal incontinence).
  • Bone damage. Bones in the pelvis may be weakened by radiation. You may be at higher risk of hip and pelvis fractures.
  • Inflammation of the lining of the rectum. This can lead to inflammation that causes rectal bleeding and pain.

Other longer term side effects can include:

  • Radiation cystitis, which affects the bladder.
  • Vaginal stenosis, a narrowing of the vagina in women.
Additional References:

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy attacks and kills cancer cells. Chemotherapy is given through a vein or as a pill. You’ll likely have more than 1 type of chemotherapy.

Systemic chemotherapy enters the bloodstream and attacks anal cancer cells throughout the body. This is used to treat advanced anal cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.

For early stage cancers, chemotherapy is usually given at the same time as radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy works by killing rapidly dividing cancer cells. It can also harm healthy cells that grow quickly. This can cause many side effects. The severity of your side effects depends on the type, dose, and the length of time you have chemotherapy.

Common side effects include:

  • Hair loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Low blood cell counts, which can cause fatigue and increase the risk of infections

If you have HIV, chemotherapy can further weaken your immune system. 

We can help you prevent and manage chemotherapy side effects by using medications to prevent or relieve nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. 

Although most side effects of chemotherapy go away when treatment ends, let us know right away if you have symptoms so we can help you.

Additional References:

Clinical Trials

We’re always looking for new and better ways to treat anal cancer. Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments or procedures. We can talk about any clinical trials that may be right for you.

Additional References:

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