Anal Cancer

About Anal Cancer

This rare form of cancer develops in the tissues of the anus. when it occurs, it may spread to other parts of the body. The anus is about 1-1/2 inches long and connects the lower part of the large intestine (rectum) to the outside of the body. It allows  stool or feces to pass from the body.

Anal cancer risk factors

Age: It is  most often is found in people older than 50

Smoking: Smokers have a significantly higher risk of anal cancer.

Race and gender: Incidence of anal cancer is higher among African Americans, particularly men, than in whites. Women are also at greater risk than men for the disease.

Human papilloma virus (HPV):The main risk factor for anal cancer is human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. HPV is linked to around 8 in 10 cases (80%) of anal cancer in the world

HIV infection: People with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, are more likely to get anal cancer.

Anal sex: People who engage in receptive anal sex have an increased risk of anal cancer.

others cancers: Women with a history of cervical, vulvar or vaginal cancer, which are also are caused by HPV infection, have an high risk of developing anal cancer risk. This is also linked to HPV infection

Lowered immunity:  People with HIV or AIDS  and those who are taking immunosuppressant medications after a transplant are at greater risk.

Anal Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of anal tumors may be similar  hemorrhoids, fissures, fistulas and anal warts. It’s important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor to determine whether or not your anal tumors are cancerous.Other common symptoms of anal cancer are:

  • Anal or Rectal Bleeding
  • Persistent or recurring anal itching
  • pain in the anal area
  • Feeling of a lump or mass in the anus
  • Change in bowel habits including diarrhea and constipation
  • Narrower stool than usual
  • Abnormal discharge from the anus
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the anal or groin area

Anal Cancer Types

  • Squamous cell carcinoma  forms in the cells that line the anus. This is the most common type of anal cancer.
  • Cloacogenic carcinoma develops between the outer part of the anus and the lower part of the rectum and accounts for nearly  1/4 percent of all anal cancers.
  • Adenocarcinoma occurs gland around anus
  • Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that may appear in the perianal skin, which is around the anus.
  • Melanoma begins in pigment-producing cells found in the skin or anal lining.

Diagnosis of Anal Cancer

Digital rectal exam

Digital rectal exam can detect some cases of anal carcinoma. These are usually part of a prostate examine for men. Manual rectal exams, where the doctor inserts a finger into the anus to feel for lumps or growths, are common in pelvic examine for both genders.


In this procedure,  anal tissue sample is examined under a microscope.

Imaging tests:

1) CT Scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging test that uses a computer to put a series of x-ray images together to create detailed 3D images of organs, tissues, bones and blood vessels in the body. This test helps determine the stages of anal cancer.

2) MRI Scan

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging test that uses powerful magnetic forces, radio frequency (RF) waves and a computer to make detailed 3-dimensional pictures of the organs, bones and tissues inside your body.This test also helps determine the stages of anal cancer.

3) PET Scan

It’s also useful in determine the stages of anal cancer.A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a nuclear imaging technique that creates detailed, computerized pictures of organs and tissues inside the body and shows areas of abnormal metabolic activity.

Anal Cancer Treatment


Anal cancer surgery is most successful when performed by a specialist with a great deal of experience in the particular procedure.

If surgery is needed to treat anal cancer, your surgeon may use one of the following procedures:

1)Local resection:This may be an option for early-stage anal cancer that has not spread The tumor, along with some of the tissue around it, is surgically removed.

2)Abdominoperineal resection (APR):  It is an option for recurrent cancer or cancer that has not responded to other treatments.The anus, the rectum and part of the colon are removed through an incision in the abdomen. The end of the intestine is attached to an opening  in the abdomen.  A new opening is created to allow stool to pass from the body.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In general, normal cells grow and die in a controlled way. Cancer cells keep growing without control. It stopping them from spreading, or slowing their growth.

Chemotherapy is often used along with radiation therapy and surgery  in treating cancers. It may be used before surgery to shrink a tumour or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that remain and to prevent the cancer from coming back. Chemotherapy may also be used to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life and extend life for people with advanced cancer

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells, but they can also damage healthy cells. Some common side effects are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, and hair loss.

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