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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 29th July 2016 > A MALIGNANT TABOO


Because no one wants to talk about anal cancer, prevention and treatment for the illness are stuck in the 1970s


PAULETTE CROWTHER said she had colon cancer, but she didn’t. As she fought for her life, only her children and closest family friends knew her real diagnosis: Stage IV anal cancer. “She didn’t even want to say the words anal cancer out loud, let alone talk about it. Colon cancer seemed more normal to her,” says Crowther’s daughter, Justine Almada. Crowther was diagnosed after a routine colonoscopy picked up a lesion on her anus that was later determined to be squamous cell carcinoma. Further tests showed the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system. In 2010, just two years after the initial diagnosis, she died at the age of 53.

STANDING STRONG: A recent campaign photo from the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. HPV, or human papillomavirus, causes 90 percent of anal cancer cases, as well as causing cancers of many other areas of the body.
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Curing Cancer - Beating the disease sometimes means beating back prejudices.