General Information About Anal Cancer
Anal cancer is a disease in which
malignant (cancer) cells form in the
tissues of the anus.
The anus is the end of the large intestine, below the rectum, through which stool (solid waste) leaves the body. The anus is formed partly from the outer, skin layers of the body and partly from the intestine. Two ring-like muscles, called sphincter muscles, open and close the anal opening to let stool pass out of the body. The anal canal, the part of the anus between the rectum and the anal opening, is about 1 1/2 inches long.
Anatomy of the lower digestive system, showing the colon and other organs.
The skin around the outside of the anus is called the perianal area. Tumors in this area are skin tumors, not anal cancer.
Being infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) can affect the risk of
developing anal cancer.
Risk factors include the following:
- Being over 50 years old.
- Being infected with human papillomavirus (HPV).
- Having many sexual partners.
- Having receptive anal intercourse (anal sex).
- Frequent anal redness, swelling, and soreness.
- Having anal fistulas (abnormal openings).
- Smoking cigarettes.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/20/2013
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