How Do I Manage the Side Effects of Anal Cancer Treatment?

Whether your anal cancer treatment plan involves chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or a combination of these options, you may experience a number of side effects as you receive treatment and recover. It’s important to let your physician know about any side effects you’re experiencing, as they may make adjustments to your treatment plan or recommend options that can help you manage these symptoms.

Common side effects of anal cancer treatment

Before beginning treatment, you may find it helpful to talk to your physician about what side effects you may expect. Some of the common side effects associated with cancer treatments include:

  • Nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite – Your physician may prescribe medications to reduce these symptoms. Avoiding greasy foods and strong cooking smells can also help minimize these side effects.
  • Diarrhea – To combat this side effect, it’s important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You may find it helpful to eat multiple small meals throughout the day to aid in digestion.
  • Fatigue – In addition to balancing physical activity with rest, certain medications, along with working with a dietitian to plan a diet high in protein and iron, may help those experiencing fatigue.
  • Mouth sores – Brushing your teeth regularly and avoiding alcohol, tobacco, spicy foods and acidic foods can help prevent mouth sores.
  • Higher risk of infections – You can help prevent an infection by practicing good hygiene, including washing your hands frequently.

How Moffitt Cancer Center can help

At Moffitt Cancer Center, the team that makes up our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program collaborates as a tumor board to develop a tailored treatment plan that will give you the best chance of a successful outcome and improved quality of life. Our cancer center also features many supportive care services in the same location, giving you convenient access to the care you need as you receive treatment for anal cancer.

If you would like to learn more about receiving anal cancer treatment and supportive care at Moffitt, call 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online. You can make an appointment with or without a referral.