Cancer Support Group

Monday, Nov 20th

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

Anal Cancer FAQs

What is anal cancer?
Anal cancer is cancer that starts in the anus. The anus is at the end of the rectum. Through it, bowel movements leave your body. The lower part of the anus is called the anal margin. Different types of tumors can form in the anus. Some of these tumors are not cancerous. These are known as benign tumors. Some are cancerous. These are called malignant tumors.

What are the risk factors for anal cancer?
Certain factors can make one person more likely to get anal cancer than another person. These are called risk factors.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) or genital warts
  • Multiple sex partners
  • Unprotected anal intercourse
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Smoking
  • Age
  • Repeated inflammation in the anal region
What are the symptoms of anal cancer?
These are the most common symptoms of anal cancer
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Pain or pressure in the anal area
  • Discharge from the anus
  • A lump from swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin area
  • Itching around the anus
  • Change in bowel movements
How is anal cancer diagnosed?
The doctor asks questions about a person’s medical history and family history. The doctor will also do a physical exam to check for signs of the cancer.

The doctor may order many of these tests to help make the diagnosis
  • Anoscopy or proctoscopy, tests that use a small instrument or tube to look at the anus
  • Biopsy
  • Ultrasound

How is anal cancer treated?
Anal cancer may be treated using radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. The goal of radiation therapy is to kill cancer cells by using X–rays. This is a common treatment for anal cancer. It can be used with or without chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to shrink the tumor. In anal cancer, chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy can cure the cancer without the need for surgery. The goal of surgery for anal cancer is to remove the tumor from the anus, while leaving as much of the anus as possible intact.

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