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Anal Cancer

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The anus includes the anal canal and two sphincter muscles. It is the opening at the end of your large intestine. Anal cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissues of the anus.


Symptoms of anal cancer can mirror symptoms of other conditions such as hemorrhoids including rectal bleeding and pain. You should check with your doctor if you experience bleeding or pain or any of these other symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Drainage
  • A lump near the anus
  • A change in bowel habits

Causes and Risk Factors

Anal cancer is caused when healthy cells, which grow and die at a set rate, mutate into abnormal cells which multiply uncontrollably and don’t die. The abnormal cells form into a tumor.

There are several known factors that increase a person’s risk for developing anal cancer including:

  • Being over 50 years old
  • Having human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Having receptive anal intercourse
  • Having frequent anal redness, swelling and soreness
  • Having anal fistulae
  • Smoking

Diagnostic Tests

Symptoms of anal cancer may mirror other conditions so it’s important to make appointment with your doctor if you have any symptoms that worry you. Your doctor will start with a complete medical history to determine the frequency and duration of your symptoms.

Your doctor may also perform additional tests to aid in diagnosis including:

  • Physical exam to look for signs of disease
  • Blood tests
  • X-ray
  • Colonoscopy
  • Anoscopy if the affected area is not close to the surface
  • Ultrasound to better locate the abscess
  • MRI to better define the fistula tract
  • Biopsy which removes suspect cells so they can be examined further

Treatment and Procedures

Your doctor will recommend a treatment plan depending on your type of cancer and the stage in which it is discovered.

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Your health is our greatest concern. Please contact the Center for Colon & Rectal Surgery at 407.303.2615for a private consultation today.