Anal Cancer

Anal Cancer Facts*

*Anal cancer facts medical author:

  • Anal cancer is a disease where cancer cells develop in the tissues of the anus.
  • Risk factors include age over 50, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, many sexual partners, receptive anal sex, cigarette smoking, and frequent anal redness, swelling, and soreness.
  • Signs and symptoms of anal cancer include anal bleeding, pain or pressure in the anal area, anal itching or discharge, lumps near the anus, and a change in bowel habits.
  • Diagnostic tests include a history and physical exam, digital rectal exam, anoscopy, proctoscopy, ultrasound, and biopsy.
  • The following affect the prognosis of anal cancer: the size, location, and stage of the tumor; the degree of spread to the lymph nodes; recurrence; and HIV status of the patient.
  • There are 5 stages of anal cancer (0 to IV, with IV as the most advanced); chest X-ray and MRI, CT, and PET scans are used to help determine the stage.
  • Recurrent anal cancer is anal cancer that has returned after treatments.
  • Treatments for anal cancer may include radiation and/or chemotherapy and surgery; some patients may qualify for clinical trials.
  • Treatment options vary for patients that have different stages of anal cancer as more advanced stages usually require more aggressive treatments.
  • Recurrent anal cancer usually requires several types of aggressive treatments.
  • Call 1-800-4-CANCER to get more information about anal cancer from the National Cancer Institute.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/20/2013

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Anal Cancer Treatment

Much public attention was directed toward anal cancer with the illness of actress Farrah Fawcett, who died in 2009 due to complications of the disease. Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in 2006 and underwent treatments in both the U.S. and Germany.


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