Anal cancer affects about 1 in 500 people, and it’s most common in ages 55-64. Although it’s less common than colorectal cancer, it still requires prompt treatment. At ACE Clinic, we’ll make sure you’re confident in your cancer treatment with the help of our team.
Anal cancer happens when abnormal cells within or around the anus begin to grow out of control. The anus is the opening in the body where waste is eliminated and it is connected to the rectum (the bottom portion of the large intestine) through the anal canal. In some cases, anal cancer spreads to other areas like the liver or lungs. Precancerous cells can sometimes be diagnosed and treated before they become cancerous, so it’s important to undergo regular screening.
Some anal cancer patients don’t experience symptoms. Others can experience symptoms like:
- Rectal bleeding
- Rectum pain
- A mass or growth
- Chronic itchiness
- Changes in bowel movements
- Narrow stool
- Swollen lymph nodes
It’s also important to consider that anal and rectal cancer have some shared symptoms. A digital rectal exam or additional tests are necessary for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
It’s unknown exactly what causes anal cancers. However, there are certain risk factors that can make it more likely to develop and it’s important to keep these in mind when trying to prevent anal cancer. Possible risk factors include:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Being aged 55 or older
- HPV-related cancers
- HIV infection
- Anal sex
- History of cervical cancer or prostate cancer
Anal cancer is typically diagnosed with an anoscopy procedure along with a biopsy of some of the affected tissue. Surgery to remove the cancerous tissue is best when the cancer is in its early stages and hasn’t spread. Major surgery involving a colostomy can sometimes be required if the cancer is more advanced. In other cases, a combination of radiation and chemotherapy can be effective to kill cancer cells and prevent their growth. Your colorectal expert will discuss your best options for treatment so you can feel confident in your care plan.
Anal cancer generally has a good outlook if caught early. However, anal cancer can return even with treatment, so it’s important to check in with your colorectal expert regularly and look for signs and symptoms.
Anal cancer can be effectively treated with the help of your colorectal expert. To learn more and schedule an appointment, we invite you to contact our office by calling or filling out our online form.
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Please do not hesitate to call us at 602-844-5157 or fill out our online form if you have a question, or would like to schedule an appointment.