Talking with your physician about anal cancer treatment can be uncomfortable – especially after you’re first diagnosed. However, it’s important to have open and honest discussions with your treatment team so that you understand your options, why those options are recommended and what you can expect during your recovery.
If you’re just getting started with your research, be sure to consider the following facts about anal cancer treatment:
There’s no "single best option" that works for every patient
Your treatment options will depend on the type, stage and location of your cancer, as well as the genetic makeup of the cells in your tumor. Your oncologist will also take into account your age, medical history and personal preferences. He or she may not recommend certain options that you’ve seen other patients receive, so try not to get too caught up in comparing your treatment plan to others.
You’re going to see a number of different medical professionals
While you may have one "point of contact" who oversees the various details of your anal cancer treatment, you’ll likely receive treatment from several different oncologists, such as:
- Medical oncologists who specialize in providing chemotherapy
- Surgical oncologists who remove tumors through surgery (and proctologists are surgeons who specialize in colorectal procedures)
- Radiation oncologists who create radiation therapy plans
- Radiation therapists who operate the machinery used during each treatment session
To help you keep things organized, you might consider creating a calendar that includes all of your appointments and each of your providers’ contact information.
Clinical trials can help you access the newest anal cancer treatments
If you’re looking to expand your treatment options, you may wish to consider enrolling in a clinical trial that allows you to access new chemotherapy medications, immunotherapies or other innovative treatments before those options are made available in other settings.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we have a multispecialty anal cancer treatment team that can provide you with individualized advice and guidance. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. No referral is required.