BY Melissa Rickenbacher

In 2013, I noticed blood in my stool, which I thought was related to hemorrhoids. I also noticed heartburn on occasion. But it took five years and seeing a lot of doctors to ultimately get a stage IV anal cancer diagnosis.

A colonoscopy I had in 2013 showed a concerning spot, so I saw a colorectal surgeon. However, the surgeon was adamant that it was just a hemorrhoid – nothing to worry about.

I started to have pain when...

Anal cancer survivor Melissa Rickenbacher poses for the camera beside her husband, Gary Rickenbacher