If you are concerned about your health regarding anal cancer, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. When arriving at an appointment you should bring a list of any symptoms or changes that have occurred, a list of all medications you are currently taking or have recently taken, a list of any allergies and known medical conditions, and written questions. Some people find it helpful to bring a loved one to serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for what is discussed during the appointment. Below you will find suggested lists of anal cancer questions to ask your doctor.
Depending on your health status and the nature of the appointment, some questions may be more applicable than others. Please use these questions to help guide the conversation during your appointment and bring any and all other questions and concerns that are specific to you and your health. Taking notes when you’re speaking with your provider will help you remember key information.
Questions after an Anal Cancer Diagnosis
- What is anal cancer?
- What stage am I?
- Have you treated this before?
- Who on your team is knowledgeable about treating anal cancer?
- What is the prognosis for this type and stage of anal cancer?
- Will I need an ostomy?
- What are my treatment options?
- What do I need to do before treatment to prepare mentally and physically?
- What are the side effects of my treatment, in the short and long term?
- How long will I experience the side effects for?
- What topical and oral medications exist to manage my side effects?
- What effect will the treatment have on my urinary, GI and sexual functioning?
- What are the treatment risks?
- Will I be able to work during treatment?
- Will I be able to drive during treatment?
- Will I need a caregiver?
- What life changes should I expect, both short and long term?
- What other specialists should I see to maintain my quality of life (i.e. sex therapist, dietitian, physical therapist etc.)?
Questions for After Treatment
- What should I expect after treatment?
- How many follow-up appointments and tests will I need?
- What is remission?
- What can I do to help keep myself in the best health possible?
- What other specialists should I see to address my post-treatment quality of life questions and concerns (i.e. sex therapist, dietitian, physical therapist etc.)?
Looking for someone to talk to about your anal cancer diagnosis? We are here to help. The Peer to Peer Support Program is a free service provided by the Anal Cancer Foundation that matches anal cancer thrivers (our word for survivors) and caregivers with thriver volunteers and caregiver volunteers.