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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

BY Clayton Boldt, Ph.D.

First discovered in the 1980s, exosomes are microscopic spherical packages, called vesicles, released by all cells. Their normal role in the...

BY Devon Carter

From your growth to your digestion, your hormones regulate many basic functions within your body. These chemical messengers are produced and released into the blood by neuroendocrine cells. If the cells malfunction, they can develop into a neuroendocrine tumor. Because neuroendocrine cells can be found throughout the body, these tumors can, too. But they’re most commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) at the rectum, the small...

Illustration of an operating room

BY Ronda Wendler

When Jorge Castillo’s back began to ache, he thought he’d injured himself at work.

“I install and repair electrical power grids, so...

BY Molly Adams

You probably know that cancer treatment can cause side effects like nausea, fatigue and hair loss. But some types of cancer treatment may...

BY Kellie Bramlet Blackburn

Months after his chondrosarcoma treatment at another hospital, Chuck Lichtman developed a life-altering hernia. It made it hard to move, sleep...

BY Heather Alexander

If you’ve seen reports about the carcinogen benzene being found in sunscreen, you may be wondering what it means for your sun-safety routine...

BY Karen Vollmering

Radiation therapy is one of the most common forms of cancer treatment. It uses high-energy X-rays to pinpoint and destroy cancer cells. Radiation...

BY Devon Carter

Stem cells come from our bone marrow and grow to become red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. These cells make up our blood and...

BY Lauren Rose

Headaches, seizures and weakness throughout the body can all be potential brain tumor symptoms. Because these symptoms can also be signs of...

BY Ronda Wendler

Not long after moving into her new house, Dana Evans noticed an itchy red spot on her left breast.

“I’d seen a few spiders in the house...

BY Kellie Bramlet Blackburn

Nicola Sirito had a rare diagnosis – a soft tissue sarcoma on his spine – but his MD Anderson care team knew they could successfully...

BY Justin Bird, M.D.

Many of the important things that we really want to accomplish in life, we can’t do alone. So, you have to identify the people who can help...

BY Cyndi Graves

Before my husband, David, was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the nasal cavity called sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC...

BY Fred Hileman, Ph.D.

Before coming to MD Anderson for treatment of hairy cell leukemia in 2015, I was told by two different oncologists that I had only a matter...

BY Gina Van Thomme

Ethan Ludmir, M.D., grew up watching Star Wars. But unlike other fans, his favorite character wasn’t Luke Skywalker or Han Solo. Instead,...