Woman with anal cancer would rather it was more well-known
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Cancer symptoms are often vague and non-specific, which often results in late diagnosis. However, survival outcomes grow poorer when the condition slips under the radar. This makes symptoms awareness front and centre. Fortunately, an expert has shared the warning signs of anal cancer to be aware of, including pain when going to the loo.
Between your diet and medication, trying to open your bowels might not always be an easy experience.
Michelle Geraghty-Corns, Founder of Eternal Being, said: “There are a number of reasons why someone might find pooing painful, with constipation being an incredibly common issue.
“Your diet, stress, dehydration, gut allergies, medication, pregnancy, and lack of movement are just a few of the reasons why you can become constipated, where you experience pain while having a bowel movement, hard and dry stool, and have fewer than three bowel movements a week.”
However, constipation and the pain that comes with it could occasionally be a sign of a more serious problem.
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Geraghty-Corns said: “Anal cancer is another reason why people may find pooing painful, although this is a less common reason.
“Anal cancer is linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a common sexually transmitted infection. HPV is thought to be the most common cause of anal cancer.”
While pain when going for a number two could be one of the warning signs of the deadly condition, anal cancer more commonly presents with rectal bleeding, pain around the anus and itching.
In fact, bleeding from the bottom is considered one of the “most common” symptoms of anal cancer.
Patients might spot blood in their stool or when they wipe after going to the loo for a number two, according to the expert.
Geraghty-Corns said: “If you spot blood in your stool or on the tissue, it is important to closely monitor this and seek support from your GP.
“While bleeding from the anus can be caused by other conditions… it is important to rule out anal cancer by a professional rather than assuming it is due to something else.”
Another common symptom of anal cancer is a discharge of mucus from your bottom.
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Geraghty-Corns said: “It looks similar to phlegm or snot, and can be found by itself or mixed in with the stool.
“Some of our clients describe it as looking like fried onions in the toilet bowl. Again, this can be caused by various different complaints and this is why we can’t stress enough to get checked.”
The expert concluded that experiencing any of the following “key” symptoms warrants a GP appointment:
- Bleeding from or around the anus
- Excess mucus
- Painful lumps in and around the anus
- Change in bowel regularity (an increased urge to go to the bathroom)
- Sore in/around the anus that does not heal.
She said: “Nearly all of these symptoms can be caused by different issues far less scary than cancer but get checked out.
“This is why we need to break down the stigma about poo and our toilet habits, as to stop these cancers we need to know ourselves and not be ashamed or embarrassed about poo.
“If you have any symptoms of anal cancer, you must go to your GP to get them checked since catching cancer earlier can improve the outcomes.
“With anal cancer symptoms, they are similar to the symptoms for haemorrhoids and anal fissures, making it important for individuals to see a GP anytime they have a change around their anus which isn’t typical for them.”
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